Iowa Rep. Steve King is facing a fierce backlash over a tweet critics say is an open embrace of white nationalism.
On Sunday, King retweeted a political cartoon featuring Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician whose anti-Muslim rhetoric and blown-out hairstyle have drawn plenty of comparisons to Donald Trump. The cartoon depicts Wilders, chairman of the far-right Party for Freedom and a member of the Dutch parliament, plugging a hole in the wall protecting “Western Civilization” as a flood of water bearing the star-and-crescent symbol of Islam comes crashing over the top.
“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny,” King wrote on Twitter. “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
It isn’t entirely clear whose “babies” King was referring to, and his office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
However, Wilders recently thanked a different cartoonist for “an excellent cartoon” urging Europe to “stop Islamization.”
“We must indeed stop the Islamization of our societies!” he wrote.
King’s tweet was retweeted by David Duke, former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
“Sanity reigns supreme in Iowa’s 4th congressional district,” Duke tweeted, adding: “GOD BLESS STEVE KING!!!”
Evan McMullin, the former independent U.S. presidential candidate, was quick to condemn King’s tweet.
“GOP Congressman @SteveKingIA promotes the un-American ideas of white nationalism,” McMullin tweeted. “Will any Republican congressmen condemn his bigotry?”
California Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat, also condemned King’s message.
King is no stranger to stirring controversy.
In early 2008, King predicted that al-Qaida would be “dancing in the streets” if Barack Obama became president, in part because of Obama’s middle name, Hussein.
“His middle name does matter,” King said. “It matters because they read a meaning into that.”
In 2012, King defended his Republican colleague Todd Akin’s controversial suggestion that women couldn’t get pregnant from rape, saying he hadn’t heard of such cases.
“Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way,” King said. “And I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.”
And during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, King wondered aloud what contributions nonwhite citizens have made to society.
“This ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired,” King said in an appearance on MSNBC. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people … where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”
King is also well-versed in the Trump administration’s controversial rhetoric.
Last week, King told the New York Times that he believes in the existence of a “deep state” that’s attempting to undermine President Trump.
“We are talking about the emergence of a deep state led by Barack Obama, and that is something that we should prevent,” King told the Times. “The person who understands this best is Steve Bannon.”
King added that Trump “needs to purge the leftists within the administration that are holdovers from the Obama administration, because it appears that they are undermining his administration and his chances of success.”