Republican congressman Steve King has defended a comment that many believed was racist, saying he wanted see to "America that's just so homogenous that we look a lot the same".
The Iowa congressman sparked a storm of controversy over the weekend when he retweeted a remark celebrating right-wing, anti-Muslim Dutch politician Geert Wilders.
“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilisation with somebody else’s babies,” said Mr King.
The comments triggered outcry with everyone from Chelsea Clinton to Bill Kristol, denouncing the remark.
The chairman of Iowa’s Republican Party also condemned the comment.
“First of all, I do not agree with Congressman King’s statement. We are a nation of immigrants, and diversity is the strength of any nation and any community,” said Jeff Kaufmann.
But Mr King has defended his remark. Appearing on CNN on Monday morning, he said: “Well, of course I meant exactly what I said.”
Mr King, 67, had praised Mr Wilders and retweeted a cartoon depicting him filling a home in a wall that read “Western civilisation”.
The congressman, whose constituents in north west Iowa are more than 95 per cent white, added: “It’s a clear message. 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.“
Mr King went on to criticise illegal immigration to the United States and immigrants who don’t “assimilate into the American culture”.
““Living in enclaves, refusing to assimilate into the American culture and civilisation. 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.
He also defended his view that western civilisation is a “a superior civilisation”.
“I'd like to see an America that's just so homogenous that we look a lot the same, from that perspective,” he said.
This is not the first time Mr King has found himself at the centre of controversy. Last year he hosted Mr Wilders in Washington at an event to discuss Islam.
During the 2016 campaign, he said he felt that Donald Trump should electrify his wall along the US-Mexico border. He also made inflammatory remarks about African Americans.
While Mr King’s remarks received widespread condemnation, few senior Republicans spoke out against him.
One who did was Carlos Curbelo, a first term congresssman from southern Florida. He wrote: “@SteveKingIA What exactly do you mean? Do I qualify as “somebody else's baby? #concernedGOPcolleague.”
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