Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King

In an interview published on Thursday in the New York Times, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) wondered how language like “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” became offensive in the United States.

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?” King told the Times. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

The comments came as part of an extensive report from The New York Times about King’s hardline views on immigration and how they mirror much of what President Donald Trump has said and pushed for during his presidency.

King recalled in an interview with The Times when President Trump invited him to the Oval Office and boasted of having raised more money for the congressman’s campaigns than anyone else.

“Yes, Mr. President,” Mr. King replied. “But I market-tested your immigration policy for 14 years, and that ought to be worth something.”

King has served in Congress since 2003. He has made national headlines for endorsing a Toronto mayoral candidate with neo-Nazi ties and for meeting with a far-right Austrian party accused of trivializing the Holocaust. Two years ago, King was in hot water over a tweet in which he expressed support for far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilder, saying “we can’t restore our civilization with someone else’s babies.”

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