Congressman Steve King spoke on the House Floor today regarding yesterday’s New York Times article that has caused an uproar once again. Representative Louie Gohmert yielded King time to make his statement.
“I come to the floor here of the United States House of Representatives with a specific purpose today,” King said. “I made a freshman mistake a week ago today when I took a call from a reporter from the New York Times. That was a 56-minute interview without a tape. That resulted in a long article. In that article were snippets of the 56-minute interview. Part of that inquiry was about the history of the immigration policy in this country for over the last say 18 or so years of which I have been a significant part, especially in Iowa as we have a voice to shape policy and help these presidential candidates move on to the Oval Office. I’m grateful that much of the policy that was debated then is in the Oval Office today and it’s being debated all over this country.”
King highlighted the quote that has caused problems for the nine-term Congressman in the last 24 hours. He said the context for the interview was how important it is in the debate to control the language.
“If you can control the language, you can control the policy,” he said. “Labels have been hurled in this country at people like we have never seen in this history of America.”
He talked about terms such as racist, nazi, fascist, white nationalist, white supremacist and Western civilization, which King said is the foundation of American civilization.
King took exception to the headline of the story, which is “Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics.”
“I’ve never been anti-immigrant,” King said. “I have been anti-illegal immigrant and I remain that way.”
King said he asked the question wondering how those words got plugged into political dialogue, not how they became offensive.
He added he never sat in a class that supported the merits of those words — except for Western civilization.
“Western civilization has merit and I remain a defender,” King said.
King then read his statement from yesterday:
“Today, the New York Times is suggesting that I am an advocate for white nationalism and white supremacy. I want to make one thing abundantly clear; I reject those labels and the evil ideology that they define. Further, I condemn anyone that supports this evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of 6 million innocent Jewish lives.
It’s true that like the Founding Fathers I am an advocate for Western Civilization’s values, and that I profoundly believe that America is the greatest tangible expression of these ideals the World has ever seen. Under any fair political definition, I am simply a Nationalist. America’s values are expressed in our founding documents, they are attainable by everyone and we take pride that people of all races, religions, and creeds from around the globe aspire to achieve them. I am dedicated to keeping America this way.
This conviction does not make me a white nationalist or a white supremacist. Once again, I reject those labels and the ideology that they define. As I told the New York Times, ‘it’s not about race; it’s never been about race.’ One of my most strongly held beliefs is that we are all created in God’s image and that human life is sacred in all its forms.”
“All of my life’s work, all of my public record, all of my bills, all of my votes, all of my activities support that statement,” King said. “That human life is sacred in all of its forms and that we are created in God’s image.
“I regret the heartburn that has poured forth upon this Congress and this country and especially in my state and in my Congressional district. But the people who know me know I wouldn’t have to even make this statement because they do know me.”
After King yielded the floor back to Gohmert, the Texas Congressman spoke in support of King
“I’ve traveled with him been in different parts of the country, different parts of the world with my friend, Mr. King from Iowa, I’ve seen him dealing with different races, nationalities around the world. I’ve had a lot of private conversations and have never seen anything that indicated anything but condemnation for white supremacists, but he is a proud American. He’s an American, he’s very proud of it and he’s proud to carry the monicker of being an American in any situation. I would contend that’s not a bad thing.”