WASHINGTON — House Republicans on Thursday criticized a fellow GOP lawmaker for making what they said were ‘‘racist’’ comments.
Representative Steve King of Iowa was quoted in The New York Times saying, ‘‘White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?’’
The comment drew a denunciation from a member of House Republican leadership. Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican, said that King’s remarks were ‘‘abhorrent and racist and should have no place in our national discourse.’’
King later issued a statement saying he is neither a white nationalist nor a white supremacist.
‘‘I reject those labels and the evil ideology that they define,” he said. “Further, I condemn anyone that supports this evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of 6 million innocent Jewish lives. Under any fair political definition, I am simply a nationalist.’’
It’s not the first time some Republicans have denounced King, nor the first time King has said his intent is to defend Western civilization.
‘‘We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,’’ he tweeted in 2017. Then he told CNN: ‘‘I’d like to see an America that’s just so homogeneous that we look a lot the same.’’
King narrowly won reelection in November.