CLEVELAND ― Controversial Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) says he’s OK if people are angry at him for praising the greatness of white people, because he just wants to open up a dialogue about “what’s great about America.”
King hailed the supremacy of Western Christian culture in a panel on MSNBC on Monday, when he became peeved by a suggestion from Esquire’s Charlie Pierce that this year’s Republican convention could be the last in which angry old people get to dictate the GOP’s platform.
King asked his fellow panelists “where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about?” and challenged them to show him “any other subgroup of people” that had contributed more to civilization than white Christians.
The comments sparked an immediate furor, and host Chris Hayes felt impelled to condemn the “odious” remarks in a three-part tweet flurry later.
When The Huffington Post and reporters from other outlets caught up to King later on the convention floor, he was not apologetic. He said folks were just twisting his point when he really just wanted to get people talking openly.
“What we have are people trying to parse something to hyperventilate about that,” King said. “I’m OK if they do that, because it starts the dialogue so we can open up more minds and people can think about what’s great about America.”
The real outrage should be directed at Pierce, King said, for suggesting the old white guard of the Grand Old Party was about to be retired.
“The disparagement, what was said ahead of me, by Charlie, [was] this is the last Republican convention where old white people will have anything to say about the Republican Party,” King said. “Now, that’s over the top. And nobody’s hyperventilating about that, are they? Just me, and I corrected him.”
“He needed to be corrected, and it’s fine to have a national dialogue about it,” King added.