Pelosi calls for GOP to strip King of chairmanship

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 2014, file photo, Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa speaks in Des Moines. King in a tweet Sunday, March 12, 2017, paid tribute to Geert Wilders, a veteran member of the Dutch Parliament who founded the Party of Freedom. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top House Democrat on Tuesday called on Republican leaders to strip Iowa Rep. Steve King of a chairmanship after his inflammatory comments about immigration.

In a statement, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders should immediately take the chairmanship of a House Judiciary subcommittee from King, who this past weekend said America can't restore "our civilization with somebody else's babies."

"Where are Speaker Ryan and the GOP leadership?" asked Pelosi, D-Calif. "Does their silence mean Congressman Steve King's vile racism is acceptable? House Republicans think they can keep quiet, but their contempt for the great diversity of our nation is being heard loud and clear."

Several Republicans and Democrats criticized King for his comments, with Ryan saying he disagreed with the remarks.

"We're a melting pot. My family's here because the potatoes stopped growing in Ireland," he told Fox News Monday night. "The American idea is this beautiful idea which is there for everyone, which is that the condition of your birth doesn't determine your outcome in life."

Ryan said he hasn't spoken with King. "I'd like to think he misspoke and it wasn't really meant the way it sounds and hopefully he's clarified that," said the Wisconsin Republican.

King stood by those comments in a CNN interview on Monday in which he also said, "If you go down the road a few generations or maybe centuries with the intermarriage, I'd like to see an America that (is) so homogenous that we look a lot the same from that perspective."

King's initial comments on Twitter were part of a tribute to Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician who opposes immigration and has spoken against Islam. It came as the Dutch prepared for an election for prime minister.

King is known for making racially charged commentary. Last year, at the Republican National Convention, King questioned contributions to civilization by nonwhites. In 2013, he described children in the country illegally as having "calves the size of cantaloupes because they've been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."

Later Monday, in an interview with Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson on 1040 WHO, King said blacks and Hispanics will be battling each other before whites become the minority in the United States.

King was responding to Univision's Jorge Ramos' comments about changes in the U.S. demographic in the next decades.

"When you start accentuating the differences, then you start ending up with people that are at each other's throats. And he's adding up Hispanics and blacks into what he predicts will be in greater number than whites in America. I will predict that Hispanics and the blacks will be fighting each other before that happens," King said.

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