On Sunday, Congressman Steve King (R-IA) fired off a tweet in support of Dutch Presidential candidate Geert Wilders, whose populist, far-right and anti-immigrant platform has led some to dub him the Dutch Donald Trump.
King’s original tweet closely dovetails language used by white nationalists to suggest that America needs more white people of European descent, and fewer Muslim and Latino immigrants. It has been roundly lambasted as racist.
Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies. https://t.co/4nxLipafWO
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) March 12, 2017
Despite the criticism over his barely-veiled ethno-nationalism, King hasn’t backed down. In a Tuesday interview, Breitbart host Alex Marlow paused a discussion on the Obamacare replacement bill’s dismal CBO numbers to give King “a chance to explain to the Breitbart audience.”
King replied that the tweet reflected his view that Western civilization is at risk of extinction due to low birth rates and immigration from inferior non-Western cultures.
According to King, the tweet was the same language he used 10 years ago, when he was asked before the EU parliament to address how they could deal with a “diminishing size of the pie” as their population aged.
“I said to them in that speech, ‘You cannot rebuild your civilization with somebody else’s babies. If you don’t care enough about your society, your civilization, to have enough babies to sustain your population — and hopefully increase, and not decrease — then you shall shortly become extinct,” King reiterated to Breitbart.
“The answer back was, ‘Well, we’re importing labor to take care of that.’ And I could see then in Europe the things that now are burning in the streets of Germany, and Sweden, and France, and multiple other countries in Western Europe,” he continued. He later referred specifically to Muslim immigration, and claimed that immigrants were “building enclaves within cities” and “demonstrating against the host country and the host culture while they’re soaking up the welfare.”
Listen starting at 14:50:
“So that’s what that is about, we’re watching as Western civilization is shrinking in the face of the massive, epic migration that is pouring into Europe,” he said. “That’s the core of that tweet. They’re importing a different culture, a different civilization — and that culture and civilization, the imported one, rejects the host culture. And so they are supplanting Western civilization with Middle Eastern civilization and I say, and Geert Wilders says, Western civilization is a superior civilization, it is the first world.”
King, in his defense of the tweet, denied that the statement was about race and said if he had more than 140 characters he would have added: “you can’t rebuild your civilization with somebody else’s babies unless you adopt them and bring them into your homes and raise them as your own.”
His overall statement, however, is a slightly more genteel phrasing of the rallying cry of open white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists, who believe that both white people as a race and as a Euro-centric society are critically endangered. It’s a conspiracy theory popularly known as “white genocide” — the belief that mass immigration, integration, low fertility rates, and abortion are being used in predominantly white countries to erase white populations through assimilation.
In the interview, King went on to support his view with CIA data of the world birth rates, saying that of 24 first-world countries — “western civilizations almost by definition” — only Israel had a high enough birth rate to sustain its population.
“And they rank 73rd out of 224. The other 23 countries are all below replacement rate,” he said.
King has a record of white nationalist statements. In 2016, King told MSNBC host Chris Hayes that white people have contributed more to civilization than “any other subgroup of people,” and in 2015 King told an Iowa radio host that Europe was “almost past tense, you can almost say they have committed cultural suicide” through immigration.
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) September 18, 2016
While King has been criticized in the mainstream media, white nationalist websites rejoiced for what they saw as a newly open endorsement of their platform. On Breitbart, Marlow hailed King’s explanation of the tweet for its cogency and wisdom and suggested objections were just partisan spin.
“It just shows you the partisan nature of the establishment press looking to tar and feather you, and not actually contemplate that there is any wisdom in these comments,” Marlow ended the interview.
In his Monday press briefing, Sean Spicer told a reporter who asked about Trump’s reaction to the tweet that he would have to check with the president to see what he thought. On Tuesday, Spicer clarified: “This is not a point of view he shares,” he said. That has been the White House’s only response.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), initially responded to King’s comments through a spokesperson, who said “the speaker clearly disagrees and believes America’s long history of inclusiveness is one of its greatest strengths.”
Over 24 hours after King’s words hit Twitter, Ryan directly responded in a Fox interview, saying that he disagreed with King but that “I would like to think — and I haven’t spoken to Steve about this — I would like to think he misspoke, and it wasn’t meant the way it sounds, and I hope he’s clarified that.”