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‘I Meant Exactly What I Said.’ Rep. Steve King Stands by Controversial Tweet

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Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) defended his widely condemned tweet in support of far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders during an appearance on CNN.

On Sunday, King tweeted praise for Wilders, saying he “understands that culture and demographics are our destine. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” Critics swiftly condemned the comment for promoting white nationalistic ideals. But when speaking with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, King, who has a history of making racially provocative statements, said he “meant exactly what I said.”

“I’d like to see an America that’s so homogenous that we look a lot the same,” King added.

When pressed by Cuomo about whether he believes “a Muslim American, an Italian American, a Jewish American” are all equal, King, who said he was a “champion for western civilization,” paused.

“It’s not that simple,” he said. “They contribute differently to our culture and civilization.”

He continued: “Individuals will contribute differently, not equally to this civilization and society. Certain groups of people will do more from a productive side than other groups of people will.”

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Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com