Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who two weeks ago retweeted a neo-Nazi’s call to stop “mass immigration,” refused on Tuesday to delete the tweet or apologize for sharing the hate leader’s message.
Europe is waking up…Will America…in time? https://t.co/GqZ3E1lCyh
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) June 12, 2018
“It’s unjust to simply put a politically correct bridle on someone and say, ‘You’ve got to do a background check on everybody that ever tweets something out before you can ever agree with a single sentence that they might put out,'” King told CNN in an interview. “And by the way I didn’t even know it was his message. I thought it was a Breitbart message.”
“I am aware of many leftists that are attacking me, trying to get me to take this down,” he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo later on Wednesday. “I’m not taking it down. It was simply a Breitbart story that I tweeted. It had a guy’s name on it that I had never heard of. Now a lot of people have heard his name. It’s going to stay on my website as long as it takes, it’s going to go into the rearview mirror.”
Republican leadership stayed silent after King’s tweet on June 12. TPM’s requests for comment to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee went unanswered.
On Tuesday, Ryan broke his silence through a spokesperson, with a message to the Daily Beast’s Sam Stein: “The speaker has said many times that Nazis have no place in our politics, and clearly members should not engage with anyone promoting hate.”
King didn’t seem to take that personally.
“Paul Ryan didn’t say anything,” he told Cuomo. “His spokesperson made a general comment that didn’t even have my name in it.”
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