Republican Rep. Steve King - who has always been a target for criticism because of his public comments on race and immigration - rejected Thursday being labeled a white nationalist, following bipartisan outrage for comments he made appearing to lament that white supremacist comments are considered offensive.
"White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization - how did that language become offensive?" 'Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?'
King's statement came after lawmakers from both parties condemned his earlier comments.
King, 69, has attained notoriety for statements and positions that appeal to white nationalists.
In November, King drew a strong rebuke from the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee after making a string of comments and retweets relating to white nationalists and supremacists.
"Once again, I reject those labels and the ideology that they define", he said.
"America's values are expressed in our founding documents ... and we take pride that people of all races, religions, and creeds from around the globe aspire to achieve them", he said. "I think it was important that he rejected that kind of evil because that's what it is, it's evil ideology".
Last year, King tweeted, "We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies", later telling CNN's Chris Cuomo that he "meant exactly what I said".
And fellow Republican Rep. Justin Amash of MI said: "This is an embrace of racism, and it has no place in Congress or anywhere".
Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) called for the House to formally censure King for his remarks.
Yesterday, Republican state senator Randy Feensra of Hull announced he would run for King's seat in 2020. "We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior".