Nation & World

Rep. Steve King demurs on white society question, says he wasn't aware of divisive meme on his Facebook page

Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King talks to voters Nov. 5, 2018, in Webster City shortly before he was elected to another term. This week, the Northwest Iowa congressmen said he did not play a direct role in posting over the weekend a controversial meme on his campaign Facebook page. The image was later deleted. (Scott Morgan/Reuters)
Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King talks to voters Nov. 5, 2018, in Webster City shortly before he was elected to another term. This week, the Northwest Iowa congressmen said he did not play a direct role in posting over the weekend a controversial meme on his campaign Facebook page. The image was later deleted. (Scott Morgan/Reuters)

U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, whose history of making racially inflammatory remarks has come under heightened scrutiny, demurred this week when asked by a constituent at a town hall meeting whether “a white society is superior to a non-white society.”

“I don’t have an answer for that. That’s so hypothetical,” King said, responding to a question posed at the meeting Tuesday night in Algona.

“I’ll say this: America is not a white society,” King continued. “It’s never been a completely white society. We came here and joined the Native Americans, who were here in many times numbers greater than ours.”

Later in the exchange, which was captured by CNN and other national media, King added: “I’ve long said that a baby can be lifted out of a cradle anywhere in the world and brought into any home in America, whatever the color of the folks in that household, and they can be raised to be American as any other.”

King, a nine-term lawmaker from Iowa’s 4th congressional district, was stripped of committee assignments by House Republican leaders in January after questioning in a New York Times interview if term “white nationalist” should be offensive.

His comments to the Times followed a string of remarks over the years that disparaged immigrants and minorities and suggested an embrace of far-right foreign politicians and parties that have been openly hostile to those groups.

He since has asserted that his comments were mischaracterized, but the newspaper has not retracted the story nor have congressional Republicans restored his committee assignments,

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King was back in the headlines this week following a controversial post on his campaign’s Facebook page.

It included a meme of two fighting Frankenstein figures, one red and one blue, each an amalgamation of states supposedly based on their political leanings.

“Folks keep talking about another civil war,” the meme read. “One side has about 8 trillion bullets, while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use.”

Pressed by a CNN reporter at Tuesday’s town hall, King said he “wasn’t aware” that the image had been posted and that he does not personally manage the Facebook page. The post has since been deleted.

“The only people who care about that is national news media,” King added. “Nobody has raised the issue around here.”

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