WASHINGTON — Rep. Steve King said Wednesday that humanity might not exist if not for rape and incest, prompting the latest round of outrage at the Iowa Republican, who has a long history of making inflammatory remarks.

In this Jan. 26, 2019, file photo, U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, speaks during a town hall meeting in Primghar, Iowa. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File

In a discussion at the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, King was defending his position against laws allowing abortion exceptions in cases of rape and incest.

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” King said, according to the Des Moines Register. “Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can’t say that I was not a part of a product of that.”

A spokesman for King did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the House member’s remarks.

King’s comment drew rebukes from both sides of the aisle. J.D. Scholten, a Democrat who ran against King last year and is challenging him in 2020, said King’s remarks are “disrespectful to survivors and don’t reflect Iowan values.”

“Yet again, Steve King puts his selfish, hateful ideology above the needs of the people of Iowa’s 4th district,” Scholten said in a statement. “Excusing violence – in any way – is entirely unacceptable.”

Republican Randy Feenstra, an Iowa state senator who is waging a primary challenge against King, also condemned the lawmaker’s comments.

“I am 100% pro-life but Steve King’s bizarre comments and behavior diminish our message & damage our cause,” Feenstra said in a tweet. “Trump needs defenders in Congress, not distractions. I will ensure we win this seat & I’ll be an effective conservative leader in Congress.”

Others denouncing King’s remarks on Wednesday included Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a Democratic presidential primary contender who called on King to resign, and Ilyse Hogue, president of the abortion rights group NARAL.

“Steve King — demonstrating there is NO bottom — defends his position that there should be no exceptions on abortion bans by suggesting that but for rape and incest, there would be no people left,” Hogue said on Twitter. “I’m really glad I do not live in his world.”

King kicked off his bid for a 10th term in Congress in February by declining to apologize for repeatedly making offensive remarks. The previous month, House Republican leaders stripped King of his committee assignments after The New York Times published an interview in which the lawmaker questioned how the terms “white nationalism” and “white supremacy” had become offensive. After the censure, King compared himself to Jesus.

Over the years, King has claimed that “our civilization” can’t be restored with “somebody else’s babies,” supported a Toronto mayoral candidate considered to be a white nationalist and met with a far-right Austrian group with historical Nazi ties. He has made a variety of remarks widely viewed as racist, anti-Semitic or insulting to minorities.


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