Over the weekend, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) caused controversy on social media when he tweeted white nationalist rhetoric in support of far-right Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders.
“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” King tweeted.
Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies. https://t.co/4nxLipafWO
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) March 12, 2017
The tweet was accompanied by a link to another Twitter account featuring a cartoon of Wilders claiming he has been “right for over 10 years” for wanting to ban Muslim immigration into the Netherlands.
King’s rhetoric can be construed as codified white nationalism. It advocates for the preservation of white identity and claims steps need to be taken to ensure the white population remains in power. His rhetoric was also reminiscent of anxieties over changing demographics that threaten the dominant culture, a characteristic that spans the white nationalist, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim movements.
King later doubled down on his tweet and told CNN’s Chris Cuomo he would “like to see an America that’s just so homogenous that we look a lot the same from that perspective.” During the interview, he also refused to say Muslim Americans are equal to other Americans, claiming that one “contribute[s] differently to our culture and civilization.”
This is not the first time King has quoted Wilders in defense of Western civilization. In 2015, the Iowa congressman spoke at an event sponsored by Frank Gaffney’s anti-Muslim think tank Center for Security Policy.
During his remarks, King stated: “I would say this: Geert Wilders, member of parliament, Netherlands, said something really clearly that I hadn’t heard said outloud in a public debate in way too long. He said, ‘Western civilization is a superior civilization.’”
King also espoused similar rhetoric to Sunday’s controversial tweet, saying it is up to us to “defend this civilization” and to “have a lot of babies and raise them right and make sure that they believe the things we believe and we can hold our culture and civilization together.”
King remains close with his Dutch anti-Muslim counterpart. In June 2016, King visited the Hague and met with Wilders and Dr. Frauke Petry, who co-heads the German far-right political party Alternative for Germany (AfD). King was also spotted holding a “summit” with Wilders during the 2016 Republican National Convention. King made headlines during the RNC when he questioned what contributions non-white people have made to civilization.
And in 2015, King and his colleague Rep. Louie Gohmert co-organized a mini speaking tour in Washington D.C. for Wilders, who used the opportunity to advocate for “less Islam” in the United States and Holland.
King received push back for his recent comments from a collection of his congressional colleagues and other public officials.