Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa sent out a tweet that many deemed to be xenophobic, but the controversial congressman isn't backing down from what he said.
The context of King's comment involves a tweeted anti-Muslim comic illustration of conservative Dutch politician Geert Wilders sticking his finger in a wall, symbolizing western civilization, standing against a flood of green water, apparently representing Islam, and a group of angry Muslim protesters in the background. Concerning the tweet, King wrote, "Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies."
The tweet sent the U.S. social media world into a frenzy, as King's remark was depicted as racist, bigoted and an example of white supremacist thinking -- and Democrats and Republicans alike denounced his comments.
"[Rep. Steve King] What exactly do you mean? Do I qualify as 'somebody else's baby?' #concernedGOPcolleague," tweeted Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida.
Curbelo, born in Miami, is the son of Cuban immigrants.
Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was more blunt with his criticism of King.
"King is a total ignoramus and no one takes him seriously," Dean tweeted. "He does give off good quotes to outrage people though."
Despite the outrage, King refused to take his words back and doubled down on them instead.
"It’s a clear message," King told CNN. "We need to get our birth rates up or Europe will be entirely transformed within a half century or a little more. And Geert Wilders knows that and that’s part of his campaign and part of his agenda."
Later in the interview, King criticized illegal immigration into the U.S. and said immigrants who don’t "assimilate into the American culture" are problematic for the nation.
"Living in enclaves, refusing to assimilate into the American culture and civilization. Some embrace it, yes. But many are two and three generations living in enclaves that are pushing back now and resisting against the assimilation," he said.
King also said that western civilization is "superior" and he looks forward to a day where the U.S. in "homogeneous."
This isn't the first time King used his perch as a congressman from Ohio to make incendiary remarks about the supremacy of western civilization.
During an interview with MSNBC in Cleveland outside of the Republican National Convention in the summer of 2016, King argued that "white people" have contributed more to civilization than other groups of people.
"I'd ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you're talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?" King said.