On January 10, 2019, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) reportedly stated, "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization -- how did that language become offensive?" In light of those statements, this article gave far too generous an interpretation of King's words. As I stated in the article, there were two ways to interpret his statements. His later open embrace of the terms "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" suggest that the first interpretation described below was not as implausible as it seemed at the time.
On Sunday, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) tweeted about the upsurge of Muslim immigration to Europe by citing the growing electoral popularity of Dutch right-winger Geert Wilders. Here’s what he tweeted:
There are two ways to read this tweet.
The first is the most obvious: as racism. The idea that babies from abroad cannot be civilized to Western values – that “somebody else’s babies” are unfit for assimilation – is racist. If that’s what King said and meant, he should immediately be censured by his Republican colleagues on the floor of Congress, and we should all pray that he loses his Congressional seat.
The second way to read the tweet suggests that it's badly phrased but not racist: it could be argued that King was stating that multiculturalism, combined with high levels of immigration from non-Western cultures, shapes destiny. King could have been saying that high levels of foreign immigration to Europe in an attempt to prop up their ailing economies, without any sort of assimilation, will destroy the fabric of European civilization. That’s an argument that’s been made by European politicians ranging from David Cameron to Angela Merkel.
Fortunately, King cleared up which angle he meant on New Day on CNN. “It’s the culture, not the blood,” King said. “If you could go anywhere in the world and adopt these little babies and put them into households that were already assimilated into America, those babies will grow up as American as any other baby with as much patriotism and as much love of country as any other baby. It’s not about race, it’s never been about race … It’s a clash of cultures, not a race.”
The media ignored these words, however. Instead, they insisted on interpreting King in the first way. CNN’s Chris Cuomo accused King of trying to “white cleanse our population” in contravention of the “melting pot” concept – even though King’s claim is apparently about assimilation to Western culture, not racism with regard to birth. King said, “We’re a country here, if you take a picture of what America looks like, you can do it at a football stadium or a basketball court, you see all kinds of different Americans there. We’re pretty proud of that,” King said, going on to rip “enclaves” being created that resist assimilation.
King then said, “I think there’s been far too much focus on race.” When Cuomo explicitly accused King of stating that white people needed to raise their birth rate, King replied, “I never have said that … I tell them go back and watch the tape.” King continued, “If you go down the road a few generations or maybe centuries with the intermarriage, I’d like to see an America that’s just so homogenous that we look a lot the same.” The media immediately clipped the second half of that sentence, making it sound like King wanted to stop interracial marriage and instead maintain white purity.
That’s a lie.
King’s phraseology is awkward, no doubt. But the point he’s trying to make is not one that the Left attributes to him. Here’s Angela Merkel circa December 2015: “Multiculturalism leads to parallel societies and therefore remains a ‘life lie,’ or a sham … The challenge is immense. We want and we will reduce the number of refugees noticeably.” Is Merkel a white nationalist or white supremacist?
The deep desire to paint Republicans as racists rather than defenders of Western cultural superiority leads the media to lie. People should read and listen to King’s actual words before jumping on the bandwagon.