Representative Steve King of Iowa pleaded for a return to white "civilization" in a tweet Sunday that roiled many on Twitter, while eliciting a muted response from the conservative Republican Twittersphere.
"We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies," King said in a tweet that endorsed the candidacy of Geert Wilders, an anti-Muslim populist who has risen to the polls ahead of Wednesday's national parliamentary elections in the Netherlands. Wilders, who last year was found guilty of hate speech after leading a chant against Moroccans, is riding the wave of European and American white nationalism. The trend has permeated the Netherlands, where Wilders has campaigned on a platform to shut down mosques, ban the Koran and "make the Netherlands ours again."
Rep. Steve King with Geert Wilders and through the years
King retweeted an illustration of Wilders "plugging" the flood of Muslim immigrants across the border into "Western Civilization" posted by the far-right "Voice of Europe" Twitter account.
Representatives, community leaders and political commentators reacted to King's message, contending that multiculturalism was an essential part of American "civilization," with many using the hashtags #somebodyelsesbabies and #someoneelsesbabies.
Is it worth making the obvious point that what American history has been about is "restoring" ourselves with "somebody else's babies?" https://t.co/DZAjW670Ur
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 12, 2017
Dear Representative Steve King: These are my two babies. --Representative Ted Lieu pic.twitter.com/MHU21jJUrY
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) March 12, 2017
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Journalist Tom Brokaw said the "somebody else's babies" who King derogatorily referred to were among the ranks of American troops risking their lives overseas.
"somebody elses babies" are in US mil uniforms and in harm's way. volunteers to protect America.
Cong King, please!
— Tom Brokaw (@tombrokaw) March 13, 2017
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Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton said the tweet was particularly offensive in coming out on Purim, a Jewish holiday which commemorates the biblical story of Jewish victory over persecution. The American Jewish community has been hit by a spate of anti-Semitic threats and attacks throughout the country.
Clearly the Congressman does not view all our children as, well, all our children. Particularly ironic & painful on Purim. https://t.co/DSmU6hUhhz
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) March 12, 2017
Former senior adviser to President Obama Dan Pfeiffer predicted that King's conservative colleagues would avoid comment or condemnation.
I've been out of the prediction game since the election, but I am going to jump back to predict no GOP leader will condemn Steve King
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) March 12, 2017
Among the positive reviews of the tweet were from "alt-right" leader Richard Spencer and former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke, who tweeted "God Bless King" and praised King's state of Iowa for its "sanity."
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Representative Carlos Curbelo of Florida was among the few Republican politicians to denounce the tweet.
— Carlos Curbelo (@CLCurbelo) March 13, 2017
King, who keeps a confederate flag on his desk, has a history of voicing white supremacist views. Last July, he insisted that "subgroups" had not contributed to society, saying, "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 that you're talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?"
King has also opposed the use of the image of Harriet Tubman on the $20 and has suggested that the majority of undocumented immigrants were brought across the southern border as children are drug mules.
"For every 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 in 2013.
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