House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Monday distanced himself from Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) comment that “civilization” can’t be restored with “somebody else’s babies,” and said that he hoped the Iowa congressman “misspoke.”
“I’d like to think––and I haven’t spoken to Steve about this––I’d like to think that he misspoke and it wasn’t really meant the way that that sounds, and hopefully he’s clarified that,” the speaker said in an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier.
However, it does not appear that King misspoke at all. After sending the initial tweet, the Iowa congressman doubled down on his remark in a Monday morning interview on CNN and said he “meant exactly what I said” in the tweet. King claimed that there is an effort to fill a “void” left by abortion with “somebody else’s babies.”
“That’s the push to bring in much illegal immigration into America, living in enclaves, refusing to assimilate into the American culture and civilization,” he said.
After Ryan’s interview aired on Fox News, King told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that he “didn’t misspeak at all.”
Ryan told Baier that he disagreed with King, but he stopped short of condemning the Iowa congressman’s remarks.
“I disagree with that statement. I haven’t seen the context, but I disagree with it,” Ryan said.
He described the United States as a “melting pot” and said that with the “American idea,” the “condition of your birth doesn’t determine the outcome of your life.” Ryan also said that he does not think King’s “statement reflects what is special about this country.”
AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Ryan, issued a statement on King’s remarks earlier on Monday.
“The speaker clearly disagrees and believes America’s long history of inclusiveness is one of its great strengths,” she said in the statement.
Watch the interview via Fox News:
This post has been updated.