The backlash to Rep. Steve King’s incendiary comments about immigration continued Tuesday, hours after the Iowa Republican appeared to double down on a tweet critics said was his open endorsement of white nationalism.
At the White House, press secretary Sean Spicer said King’s comments were “not a point of view” that President Trump shares.
“He believes he’s the president for all Americans,” Spicer said.
King’s sparked a firestorm on Sunday by suggesting that Western civilization is threatened by the influx of immigrants and refugees.
“We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” King tweeted.
“What exactly do you mean?” Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican and son of Cuban immigrants, replied. “Do I qualify as ‘somebody else’s baby?’ #concernedGOPcolleague.”
“I’m an American no less than you are,” Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., an Arab-American, wrote on Twitter. “I love our Constitution and traditions. Am I ‘somebody else’s’ baby because my parents are immigrants?”
I’m an American no less than you are. I love our Constitution and traditions. Am I “somebody else’s” baby because my parents are immigrants? https://t.co/TAnBggfnhl
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 13, 2017
Asked to clarify that tweet on CNN Monday, King replied: “I meant exactly what I said.”
King explained that his tweet was inspired by his visits to Western Europe and witnessing the growing diversity there.
“I’ve said to them, ‘You cannot rebuild your civilization with somebody else’s babies. You’ve got to keep your birthrate up and … you need to teach your children your values and in doing so, then you can grow your population and you can strengthen your culture, you can strengthen your way of life.’ And that’s not happening in any of the Western European countries.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose wife, Columba, is a Mexican-American from León, joined Curbelo in condemning King’s rhetoric.
“America is a nation of immigrants,” Bush wrote on Twitter. “The sentiment expressed by Steve King doesn’t reflect our shared history or values.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann also distanced themselves from King’s remarks.
In an appearance on Fox News Monday night, though, King received support from host Tucker Carlson.
“Everything you said I think is defensible,” Carlson assured King. “And probably right.”
In a radio interview earlier Monday, King was asked about Univision anchor Jorge Ramos’ assertion to Carlson that by 2044, whites will become a majority-minority demographic in America.
“He’s adding up Hispanics and blacks into what he predicts will be in greater number than whites in America,” King replied. “I will predict that Hispanics and the blacks will be fighting each other before that happens.”
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