Republican representative Steve King has refused to answer a question about whether he thinks white societies are superior after he was stripped of his committee assignments over his comments about white supremacy.
While speaking at a town hall meeting in Iowa on Tuesday, one of his constituents Mary Lavelle asked: “Do you think a white society is superior to a nonwhite society?”
In response, Mr King said: “I don’t have an answer for that. That’s so hypothetical."
“I’ll say this, America is not a white society – it has never been a completely white society. We came here and joined the Native Americans.”
He 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 colour of the folks in that household, and they can be raised to be American as any other."
And I believe that every one of us, every one of us, is created in God’s image.”
Ms Lavelle said she asked the question because she worried that anti-immigrant language used in a manifesto written by the suspect in the mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, resembled Mr King’s own rhetoric.
Mr King's response comes after he was publicly rebuked by members of his own party following his long history of racist comments.
House Republican leaders removed Mr King from his committee assignments in January after comments he made to the New York Times questioned why the phrase “white supremacy” was considered offensive.
A number of powerful party leaders, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No 3 House Republican, suggested he should resign.
The House overwhelmingly passed a resolution disapproving of Mr King’s statements.
After losing his committee seats, Mr King released a statement insisting that his comments had been misunderstood.
He said he had been referring only to “Western civilisation” when he asked “how did that language become offensive,” not “white nationalist” or “white supremacist”.
Mr King again faced scrutiny on Monday after a post on his Facebook page speculated who would win a second civil war between red states and blue states.
The post, which has since been deleted, read: “Folks keep talking about another civil war; one side has about 8 trillion bullets while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use."
On Tuesday, pressed by a reporter from CNN, Mr King told constituents that he “wasn’t aware” that the image had been published on his Facebook page the night before and said he does not personally manage that page.
“I wish it had never gone up,” he said.
While gesturing to his constituents, he added: “It’s interesting that nobody here asked that question,”
“The only people who care about that is national news media. Nobody has raised the issue around here."
This comment prompted a handful of attendees to protest. The exchange was quickly picked up by American Bridge, a liberal political action committee.
After being asked about the manifesto, Mr King responded at length.
He said the author of the manifesto had expressed as much sympathy for Communist China as white supremacy.
“The further it went, the more inconsistent it became, and he seems to have mixed and matched ideologies,” he said.
Pressed about the overlap between the manifesto’s language and his own, Mr King said: “He also likely used the same words that Mao used.”
New York Times