CNN's Don Lemon: GOP Emboldened Steve King To Use White Nationalist Rhetoric

Rep. Steve King R-Iowa speaks with the media after a meeting of the House Republican caucus in the Capitol to discuss an immigration bill

A Republican congressman from Iowa who has been accused in the past of racism asked in an interview published on Thursday how the terms "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" became offensive to Americans.

Scott, from SC, criticized King's comments, in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Friday entitled: "Why are Republicans accused of racism?"

The Iowa Republican read the quote from the New York Times article in which he was reported saying: "White nationalists, white supremacists, western civilization - how did that language become offensive?" His mistake, he explained, was in talking to the Times in the first place. King said. "Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilisation?" He has tried to defend himself from the blowback to the Times interview, saying that the outlet has meant to paint him as an "advocate for white nationalism and white supremacy" - but he didn't deny the accuracy of the quote.

Additionally, King once took to the House floor to unveil a model for a 12-foot border wall he designed.

While King finally does seem to be facing some pushback among his usual allies, his racism has been clear for a long time, as AlterNet has previously documented.

"When people with opinions similar to King's open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole", Scott said. He was not complaining that those terms were no longer admissible in polite society; instead, he was asking how "that offensive language get injected into our political dialogue?"

Pelosi said Friday. "The new normal around here is to praise white supremacists and nationalism as something that shouldn't be shunned".

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Last year, he saw his victory margin diminish after making headlines for reportedly supporting a Toronto mayoral candidate with neo-Nazi ties.

The very reason King agreed to this interview is to fish for some credit, claiming that he "market-tested [Donald Trump's] immigration policy for 14 years".

However, no House Republicans said they would take action in response to King's remarks.

Other top Republicans, from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., have also leveled harsh criticism of King.

In the op-ed, Scott didn't call out King's other racist beliefs.

King described himself - "like the Founding Fathers" - as an advocate for Western values and "simply a nationalist". Lest you're somehow inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, be sure to check out his numerous quotes from the past that paint him as a racist, including "we can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies" and his absolute disgust at the idea of apologizing over slavery.

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