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Steve King defends himself on House floor against ‘white nationalist’ criticism

Roll Call logo Roll Call 1/11/2019 lindseymcpherson@cqrollcall.com
Steve King wearing a suit and tie: Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King said his conversation with the New York Times was about how offensive language has been “injected into the political dialogue. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) © Provided by CQ Roll Call, Inc. Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King said his conversation with the New York Times was about how offensive language has been “injected into the political dialogue. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Steve King spoke on the House floor Friday to address what he referred to as “heartburn that seems to be churning across the media and America today” after the New York Times quoted him questioning how labels like “white nationalists” and “white supremacists” became offensive.

The Iowa Republican read the quote from the New York Times article in which he was reported saying: “White nationalists, white supremacists, western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

King suggested that the Times misrepresented the context of the comment, saying the conversation was about how those words became part of the nation’s political discourse.

“How did that offensive language get injected into our political dialogue?” he said.

King read into the record a statement he put out after the New York Times article published saying in part, “I reject those labels and the evil ideology they define.”

He said he regrets the “heartburn” his comments have caused while also expressing frustration at those questioning his character.

“The people know me know I wouldn’t even have to make this statement, because they do know me,” he said, noting, “There’s nothing about my family or my history or my neighborhood that [supports] these false accusations.”

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