- The Washington Times - Monday, March 13, 2017

Rep. Steve King said Monday that he wasn’t making a statement about race but rather about immigration and culture when he posted a controversial tweet saying the U.S. “can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

The original Twitter post spawned accusations of racism from Democrats and denunciations by some Republicans, but Mr. King told The Washington Times his point was that the U.S. needs to focus on assimilating those it brings to the country, not on excluding everyone else.

“Any culture — not race, but culture - any culture that doesn’t care enough about itself to reproduce itself shall become extinct,” he said in an interview, saying he was “absolutely and specifically” referring to Western civilization.

He said the United States has a “good and long history” of successfully assimilating immigrant groups into American culture, and said it’s possible to do so regardless of where people are born or their race.

“But we gave up on that about 25 years ago and began to worship at the altar of multiculturalism and diversity and encourage the differences rather than encourage the unity,” he said.

In his original tweet Mr. King said: “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” He praised anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders in the tweet, saying: “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny.”

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Monday he disagreed with Mr. King’s statement. He said he’d like to think the congressman “misspoke” and that the statement wasn’t meant the way it sounds.

“We’re a melting pot,” Mr. Ryan said on Fox News. “This is what’s beautiful about the American idea - we’re a melting pot where people come from all walks of life all around the world to seek freedom, to seek a better life.”

Rep. Ted Lieu, California Democrat, called Mr. King a “stark, raving racist,” and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi condemned the remarks as “vile racism.”

Mr. King flatly rejected those accusations.

“I have never defended myself against such an allegation — there’s never been a reason to,” Mr. King said. “That’s about the cheapest word in the whole English language that gets thrown out there without thought by so many different people. I’ll let others evaluate that dog-eared race card.”

Mr. Wilders has attracted significant attention for expressing a desire to ban the Koran from the Netherlands, for example.

“I know him. He’s a friend. We’ve had a good number of deep conversations about this. I know what he thinks,” Mr. King said. “One of the things that he has boldly said is Western civilization is a superior civilization, and we share a common cause in restoring it for the good of the world.”

Mr. King said he’s long been speaking about these issues.

“And now, I don’t think anybody can argue that we see assimilation into the American culture and civilization taking place anything like it did…post World War II,” he said.

He says he sees a “concerted effort” to break down and damage Western civilization right now.

“Why would you do that?” he said. “I say we need to restore Western civilization for the world.”

“If we don’t do that, what are we going to do with a lot of people that we’re bringing into these societies that aren’t literate in the host country’s language and don’t bring skills with them?” he said.

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