U.S. lawmaker’s controversial tweet on immigration draws fire

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WASHINGTON U.S. Representative Steve King on
Monday stood by controversial remarks on immigration and birth
rates, in which he said “our civilization” could not be restored
with “somebody else’s babies,” drawing condemnation from
Democrats and fellow Republicans.

The speaker of the Republican-dominated House of
Representatives, Paul Ryan, and the leading Democrat in the
chamber, Nancy Pelosi, both took exception to King’s remarks.

The Iowa congressman on Sunday posted a tweet praising Geert
Wilders, a nationalist, anti-Islam politician vying to become
the Netherlands’ prime minister in a national election on

“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our
destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s
babies,” King wrote in a post that drew thousands of “likes.”

Pelosi on Monday called on House Republican leaders to
condemn King’s comments, saying they “must decide whether white
supremacy is welcome in the GOP ranks.”

A spokeswoman for Ryan, AshLee Strong, said, “The speaker
clearly disagrees (with King) and believes America’s long
history of inclusiveness is one of its great strengths.”

King, an early supporter of Donald Trump in last year’s
presidential election, defended his tweet in an interview on CNN
on Monday. He pointed to Western Europe, where he said low birth
rates were harming civilization, culture and values.

“I’d like to see an America that is just so homogenous that
we look a lot the same,” he said. “I think there’s far too much
focus on race, especially in the last eight years. I want to see
that put behind us.”

Pressed on birth rates for different groups of Americans,
King said: “They contribute differently to our culture and

Some of King’s House colleagues appeared to take his tweet

“What exactly do you mean?,” tweeted Republican U.S.
Representative Carlos Curbelo of Florida. “Do I qualify as ‘somebody else’s baby?’ #concernedGOPcolleague.”

Democratic Representative Ted Lieu, who immigrated to the
United States at age 3, tweeted a picture of his two sons,
writing: “Dear Representative Steve King: These are my two
babies — Representative Ted Lieu.”

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said, “America is a nation
of immigrants,” and added that King’s sentiment “doesn’t reflect
our shared history or values.” Bush was one of Trump’s
Republican rivals for the White House.

The tweet also drew fire from the NAACP Legal Defense and
Educational Fund. The head of the civil and human rights law
firm, Sherilyn Ifill, said King’s remarks were “an explicit call
to return to the shameful period when white supremacy was the
norm in American public life.”

Ifill said King’s remarks were “particularly dangerous” at a
time when violent hate crimes have reached “dangerous levels.”

King is from a rural state where nearly 92 percent of the
population is white, compared with 77 percent for the nation as
a whole, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Jeff Kaufmann, head of the Republican Party in Iowa, said in
a statement that he disagreed with King, also calling the United
States “a nation of immigrants” and saying that such diversity
was its strength.

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