On March 12, Iowa Rep. Steve King set the internet on fire with his undeniably racist tweet claiming, “We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies.” It was a comment embraced by white supremacists like KKK imperial grand wizard David Duke, but the rest of America wasn’t having it. When given the chance to "explain" his meaning during a CNN interview the following morning, he doubled down, saying he said exactly what he meant. Then he blamed U.S. citizens for refusing to have more children faster, leaving room for others to immigrate.
Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies. https://t.co/4nxLipafWO- Steve King (@SteveKingIA) March 12, 2017
“We've also aborted nearly 60 million babies in this country since 1973,” the Republican Congressman told CNN New Day’s Chris Cuomo, in a reference to the year the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. “There's been this effort, we're going to have to replace that void with somebody else's babies. That's the push to bring in [so] much illegal immigration into America, living in enclaves, refusing to assimilate into the American culture and civilization.”
If you are stunned by this remark, you shouldn’t be. King, a Tea Party conservative who has been in Congress since 2002, has a long history of championing “American culture” as he defines it. His America looks very much like the one from the days of the Founding Fathers - where white men controlled absolutely everything, including the government and their families. In fact, this is just the latest in a long line problematic comments or actions from a man who believes immigrants are frightening, abortion is morally wrong, and birth control will lead to the end of civilization.
1. When he said letting people use birth control will lead to a “dying civilization.”
Civilization is a big theme for the Iowa lawmaker, and while this week he is arguing that abortion is destroying American culture and civilization, usually he is blaming birth control for it too. When arguing against the Affordable Care Act rule requiring all insurers offer no co-pay contraception as part of their coverage, King declared it was a misnomer to call contraception “preventative medicine.”
“Preventative medicine,” he scoffed on the House floor in 2011. “Well, if you applied that preventative medicine, universally what you end up with is you’ve prevented a generation. Preventing babies from being born is not medicine. That’s not - that’s not constructive to our culture and our civilization. If we let our birth rate get down below replacement rate, we’re a dying civilization.”
2. When he implied that states should totally be allowed to ban contraception.
While almost every Republican in Congress agrees that they want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, King is the only one who is questioning whether Griswold v. Connecticut - the 1965 Supreme Court case that stopped states from banning the use of contraceptive medications or devices (for married couples, at least - unmarried women still had years to wait before they were allowed to prevent pregnancy) - was wrongly decided. Once again railing against the birth control mandate, King testily argued that in just his lifetime, he’s seen the country turn from banning birth control to making all abortion legal and mandating insurers cover contraceptives. During his questioning, he noted that Connecticut had its “Tenth Amendment right to establish policy” overruled by a Supreme Court that ruled a person has a fundamental right to privacy - and that that decision became the foundation for all other birth control and abortion rights rulings.
“Why should I care about the conclusions that have been brought forward by the Supreme Court if we can race from 1965, Connecticut having a Tenth Amendment right to establish a policy, a Supreme Court that creates a right to privacy that’s the foundation for mandated abortion, and here we are discussing whether we’re going to mandate everybody in America fund and provide that contraceptives. ... Why should I care?” he fumed.
3. When he told people to riot if Obamacare passed.
As you can see, King had a lot of issues with the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act. But he was just as opposed to the full bill too and urged people to actually riot if the bill passed. “Fill this city up, fill this city, jam this place full so that they can't get in, they can't get out and they will have to capitulate to the will of the American people," he said in a Huffington Post interview in 2010, adding, “It is the nationalization of our liberty and the federal government taking our liberty over.”
4. When he argued that only “forcible rape” victims should get to access to abortions.
In 2012, Republican senate candidate Todd Akin famously stated that women seldom got pregnant from “legitimate rape” – a statement that likely lost him the race against Democratic Senator Claire McGaskill. When King was asked by a local Iowa reporter if he stood by Akin, the Iowa congressman praised Akin as “a strong Christian man.” But he wasn't just defending another conservative lawmaker -- when asked why he supported a 2011 legislation that would only allow Medicaid to cover abortion in the case of "forcible rape" rather than covering victims of statutory rape or incest too, King told one Iowa newscaster, “Well, I just haven't heard of that being a circumstance that's been brought to me in any personal way, and I'd be open to discussion about that subject matter.”
Many took his statement to mean that he agreed with Akin - that he did not believe statutory rape and incest victims ever got pregnant. Instead, his spokesperson clarified that “He personally does not know a girl who was raped.”
5. When he tried to block Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds for medical groups to expand telemedicine services because he assumed they would be used for “robo-Skype abortions.”
In 2011 and again in 2012, when the Obama administration was trying to expand health-care access by promoting telemedicine, King tried to ban Planned Parenthood clinics from getting any federal grants. The grants were meant to help with things upgrading computers and building networks. But the Iowa congressman was certain Planned Parenthood was only going to use it to offer telemedicine abortions.
“Smoe [sic] of us signed a letter - 70 of us - to Kathleen Sebelius and asked if they had distributed grants for telemedicine to any of the abortion providers including Planned Parenthood,” Rep. King told LifeNews at the time. “There [sic] response came back in the affirmative that they had issued several grants to Planned Parenthood. And these funds, as near as we can determine, are being used to provide telemedicine for the robo-abrotions* [sic], the robo-Skype abortions as I’ve described.”
6. When he wanted to stop allowing automatic citizenship for people born in the U.S.
According to the Constitution, a baby born in the United States is automatically a citizen, even if that child’s parents aren’t citizens themselves or even in the country legally. King fears that’s way too much incentive to immigrants to come into the U.S. to give birth and suggests it could harm “demographics” in the country. In 2011, he proposed legislation to end the practice and revamp citizenship standards. It didn’t pass, but he never let go. Questioning one immigration expert at a 2015 congressional hearing, King asked, “[I]f this practice goes on … can we confer citizenship on people who don’t even want it? And what happens to the demographics of America if this policy is not reversed?”
7. When he claimed most undocumented immigrants were smuggling drugs across the border.
King was originally a supporter of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for president, but he eventually came around to endorsing Republican nominee, Donald Trump. After all, they had a lot in common - like their assumption that many of the undocumented people coming into the U.S. were drug smugglers and rapists. After telling a Newsmax reporter he felt bad for the few children who came into the country with help from their families and eventually got top grades, he said they represented just a small percentage of the undocumented children in the country. “For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that - they weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” King said. “Those people would be legalized with the same [DREAM] act.”
8. When he left a seat for “the unborn” at the State of the Union.
At President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address in 2016, King decided to skip the event and “pray for a new president” instead. Also left empty? His reserved “guest” chair, which he said he would keep vacant to represent all of those who were never born because of legal abortion. “I have reserved it to commemorate the lives of more than 55 million aborted babies, 'the chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world,’” King said in a statement, using a quote from the late Congressman Henry Hyde, author of the Hyde Amendment banning federal funds from being used to pay for abortions.
9. When he said no group has given more to civilization than white people.
If you were really wondering what civilization looks like to King, you simply have to take a look at a July 2016 interview during the Republican National Convention. When Esquire’s Charlie Pierce said this would be the last time “old white people” received so much attention, King rebutted by saying no group had ever accomplished as much as they did.
“I would ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?" King responded. When Chris Hayes asked King if he meant no group had done more than white people, he replied, "Than - than western civilization itself that's rooted in western Europe, eastern Europe and the United States of America, and every place where Christianity settled the world. That's all of western civilization."
10. When he suggested black people could afford abortions if they stopped buying iPhones.
Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz isn’t the only one who compares health-care costs to the cost of iPhones. In a September 2016 congressional hearing on the Hyde Amendment, King made comments about abortion causing a black genocide - a common myth cited by anti-abortion activists. Then when questioned by Rewire’s Christine Grimaldi, he later implied that even if he tried to prevent them from this "genocide" - by ensuring Medicaid would not cover abortion - African-Americans would find a way to terminate pregnancies anyway. After saying abortion was a “tragedy for any life, no matter what color,” King also responded, “They chose to have an abortion. I would give you even money that a vast majority of mothers who say they can’t afford an abortion have an iPhone, which costs more.”
11. When he praised the border patrol for deporting a 23-year-old DREAMer.
Deporting young immigrants? Congressman King will drink to that! Juan Manuel Montes was reportedly brought to the United States from Mexico when he was only 9 years old and has remained in the country due to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Now, after being nabbed by Border Patrol and not having any ID on him, the 23-year-old man has been sent back across the border, and King couldn't be happier. "First non-valedictorian DREAMer deported. Border Patrol, this one's for you," he tweeted, linking a USA Today story about the arrest. Accompanying the tweet was a picture of a giant, frothy beer. The mug was decorated with a police badge.
12. When he claimed his opponent made up that she was receiving death threats.
It's not easy running against a man who is embraced by white supremacist groups, as Democrat Kim Weaver learned when she ran against him in 2016 and was the victim of threats and harassment. Despite her loss, she in threw her hat for a 2018 rematch, but found that the threats were increasing, and announced she was withdrawing in June 2017. But the congressman refused to believe she was really experiencing death threats, claiming she simply made them up. "Democrats drove her out of the race-not R's. Death threats likely didn't happen but a fabrication," he tweeted, reminding the country once again exactly how little respect he has for women and their experiences.
I wanted #KimWeaver IN the race-not out. Democrats drove her out of the race-not R's. Death threats likely didn't happen but a fabrication.- Steve King (@SteveKingIA) June 4, 2017
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