Steve King, the Republican congressman and Trump ally who on Thursday said he didn’t understand why the term “white supremacist” was offensive, has declared himself an “American nationalist” in a House speech.
In an interview with the New York Times King had said: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
In his speech on Friday King did not dispute the quote. He said he was “an advocate for Western values”, adding:
“I’ve never been anti-immigrant, I’ve been anti-illegal immigrant and I remain that way,” King said.
He described himself as “an advocate for western civilization’s values” and said:
“Under any fair political definition, I am simply an American nationalist.”
He added: “This conviction does not make me a white nationalist or white supremacist.”
King, who has long been criticized for statements perceived as racist, had drawn ire for telling the New York Times: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
He added: “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”