Amid widespread backlash over a controversial passage in his recent New York Times interview, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, addressed the issue Friday on the House floor.
“One phrase in that long article has created an unnecessary controversy,” he said. “That was my mistake.”
Many in his own party have spoken out against him following his comments wondering when phrases like “white nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization” became “offensive.”
King has since issued a statement describing himself as a “nationalist,” but not a “white nationalist,” attempting to make a similar distinction in his House floor comments this week.
“I reject that ideology,” he said of white nationalism. “I defend American civilization, which is an essential component of western civilization.”
As for the initial controversy, King sought to pass some of the blame on to the media for misrepresenting his remarks and blowing them out of proportion. He did express some remorse over the situation, even if he did not apologize outright.
“I regret the heartburn that has poured forth upon this Congress and this country and especially in my state and in my congressional district,” he said.