A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Monday said that Ryan does not agree with Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) Sunday tweet contending that “civilization” can’t be restored “with somebody else’s babies.”
“The speaker clearly disagrees and believes America’s long history of inclusiveness is one of its great strengths,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement on King’s remarks.
She added that the House speaker would address the subject later Monday in an appearance on Fox News with Bret Baier.
King published a tweet on Sunday praising anti-Muslim Dutch politician Geert Wilders for understanding “that culture and demographics are our destiny.”
“We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” King added in the tweet.
Asked about his tweet on CNN Monday morning, King defended his comment and doubled down. He told CNN that the U.S. has “aborted nearly 60 million babies” since 1973 and claimed that there’s push in the U.S. to “replace that void 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,” King said.
After King doubled down on his remarks, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called on Ryan to denounce his comments.
“Republican Congressman Steve King’s vile racism has no place in decent society, much less in the U.S. Congress,” Pelosi Spokesman Drew Hammill said in a statement Monday afternoon. “But once again, disgusting hatred has been met with deafening silence from Speaker Ryan.”
“It’s no accident that communities across America have been threatened by emboldened racists. The GOP Leadership must stop accommodating this garbage, and condemn Congressman Steve King’s statements in the strongest and most unequivocal terms,” he added. “Speaker Ryan and the House Republican Leadership must decide whether white supremacy is welcome in the GOP ranks.”
A few Republicans on Monday distanced themselves from King’s tweet, including the chairman of the Iowa GOP.
“First of all, I do not agree with Congressman King’s statement,” Jeff Kaufmann, chair of the Republican Party of Iowa, said in a statement. “We are a nation of immigrants, and diversity is the strength of any nation and any community.”
Asked about King’s comment during the daily press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he would ask President Donald Trump about King’s remarks and get back to reporters.
This post has been updated.