Steve King: 'Would there be any population of the world left' if not for rape and incest?

Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingWhy the GOP march of mad hatters poses a threat to our Democracy MSNBC's Donny Deutsch: 'Pathetic' Republicans who stormed closed hearing are 'boring, nerdy-looking white guys' Overnight Defense: Trump lifts sanctions on Turkey | 'Small number' of troops to remain by Syrian oil fields | Defense official's impeachment testimony delayed five hours after Republicans storm secure room MORE (R-Iowa) on Wednesday questioned whether there would be "any population of the world left" if not for rape and incest throughout history, The Des Moines Register reported.

King was speaking in Urbandale, Iowa, where he defended anti-abortion legislation he sponsored in Congress that did not have exceptions for rape or incest.

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"What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?" King told the crowd at the Westside Conservative Club. “Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can't say that I was not a part of a product of that."

The Catholic lawmaker argued that the circumstances of a baby’s conception does not negate their right to life.

"It's not the baby's fault for the sin of the father, or of the mother," he said.

The nine-term congressman has a history of making controversial comments.

King sparked bipartisan backlash in January for questioning during an interview with The New York Times how terms such as "white supremacist" and "white nationalist" became "offensive."

The comments were quickly denounced and House Republicans responded by removing King from his positions on the House Judiciary, Agriculture and Small Business committees.

The House also overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning white nationalism and white supremacy by a 424-1 vote. The embattled lawmaker voted in favor of the resolution. 

The lawmaker denounced white supremacist ideologies at the time and reiterated his stance on Wednesday. He also told the crowd that he supports his defense of the West, calling the United States "the flagship for Western civilization."

King claimed that political insiders told him that the controversy surrounding his comments was part of a plot to remove him from office, the Register reported.

"People think it was an organic media feeding frenzy, but no, it was orchestrated from the beginning," he said. "They had told me, heads up before Christmas, they're going to try to drive you out of office and get you to resign. Within 24 hours, you had people saying 'resign, resign, resign.' Why? Because The New York Times misquoted me?"

Democrat J.D. Scholten, who is again challenging King, said in a statement on Wednesday that the incumbent is putting “his selfish, hateful ideology above the needs of the people of Iowa’s 4th district.”

“Excusing violence — in any way — is entirely unacceptable. Here in Iowa, we stand strong together in the face of violence, and strive to create a welcoming and safe community for all people,” Scholten said. “His comments are disrespectful to survivors and don’t reflect Iowan values.”

Republican Iowa state Sen. Randy Feenstra, who is also running to unseat King, said in a statement that while he is “100% pro-life,” King’s “bizarre comments and behavior diminish our message and damage our cause."

“We can't afford to hand the 4th District to Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFeehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Key GOP senator: 'We need a breakthrough' on spending talks Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Stopgap spending bill includes military pay raise | Schumer presses Pentagon to protect impeachment witnesses | US ends civil-nuclear waiver in Iran MORE and her allies in Congress,” he added. “President TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE needs defenders in Congress, not distractions.”

Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandMaloney primary challenger calls on her to return, donate previous campaign donations from Trump Senate confirms controversial circuit court nominee She Should Run launches initiative to expand number of women in political process MORE (N.Y.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerJayapal hits back at Biden on marijuana 'prohibition' Poll: Biden holds 20-point lead in South Carolina Fox News anchor apologizes for saying Booker dropped out of 2020 race MORE (N.J.) both called on King to resign after his latest remarks were reported. 

"Every Iowa leader, regardless of party, should condemn Representative King’s comments, an exercise they should all be familiar with by now, and join us in asking for his resignation," Booker's campaign said in a statement.

—This report was updated at 3:16 p.m.