Steve King defends remarks on rape, incest

Steve King defends remarks on rape, incest
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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 Friday defended his recent remarks calling to ban abortions even in cases of rape and incest, but acknowledged they could have been delivered in a "little softer way."

King said at a news conference in Des Moines, Iowa, that he stood by his comments and claimed that genealogists have reached out to back him up.

"I would point out that genealogists have contacted me and said that's 100 percent correct. I'd deliver that in a little softer way, though. And a softer way is this: Most of us have seen the movie 'It's a Wonderful Life,'" King said, referring to the 1946 film in which the protagonist, George Bailey, sees how his community would have fared if he'd never been born. "Think what that means to all of us."
 
"So it was an objectively honest and accurate statement. But I think it was willfully misinterpreted. I care about all people. And I think we should look back in our family trees and wonder," King added.
 
The Iowa Republican came under fire from both parties last week when he questioned whether there would be "any population of the world left" if not for rape and incest throughout human history.
 
Those remarks came at the Westside Conservative Club, where he was making a case for his anti-abortion legislation, arguing the procedure shouldn't be allowed even if conceptions occur under circumstances like rape and incest.

"What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?" King said, as first reported by the Des Moines Register.

"Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages taken place and whatever happened to culture after society? I know I can't certify that I'm not a part of a product of that."
 
Multiple anti-abortion activists joined King at Friday's news conference, including Rebecca Kiessling, who was conceived out of a rape. She said that her birth mother attempted twice to get a "back-alley" abortion but ultimately decided to give birth.
 
"I am so grateful that there are others who are willing to put themselves out there who don't have a personal stake in it like I do," Kiessling said in defense of King.
 
King's comments were not well received by House GOP leaders.
 
 
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyCongress hunts for path out of spending stalemate This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Nunes pressed on Fox News about comparing impeachment inquiry to a 'coup' MORE (R-Calif.) referred to GOP leaders' decision in January to remove King from his committee assignments after he questioned how “white supremacist” and “white nationalist” became offensive terms during an interview with The New York Times.

“This isn’t the first time I’ve had concerns with what Steve King has said. Earlier in this Congress, there were things that Steve King said that I do not believe the party of Lincoln would stand for. And as a united conference, we actually removed Steve King from his committees inside Congress, and I think this just continues to show why that action was taken,” McCarthy told Fox News’s "Special Report" last week.
 
At least two House Republicans have either committed or expressed openness to supporting King's primary challenger. King now faces three primary opponents, the most prominent being Iowa state Sen. Randy Feenstra.