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Steve King Editorial Board meeting

U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, speaks to The Journal's editorial board on May 20, 2016.

When a onetime Klan imperial wizard and neo-Nazis are singing your praises, it's time for self-reflection.

Sadly, we expect nothing of the sort from our 4th District congressman, U.S. Rep. Steve King, in the wake of almost-universal condemnation (including from state and congressional leaders within his own party) over his "someone else's babies" Twitter comment last week.

As we said in this space on Thursday in an editorial critical of King for lack of public town halls, we find King's "babies" tweet repugnant. We reject, and we believe most 4th District residents reject, the remark and its deplorable, white nationalist-like tone.

In his tweet last week, King endorsed Geert Wilders, the controversial Party for Freedom founder who on Wednesday lost the election for prime minister of the Netherlands.

"Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny," King tweeted. "We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies."

In an interview with CNN's "New Day" program on Monday, King - in predictable fashion - took nothing back.

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"You cannot rebuild your civilization with somebody else's babies. You've got to keep your birth rate up, and that you need to teach your children your values," he said. "In doing so, you can grow your population, you can strengthen your culture and you can strengthen your way of life."

"Restore our civilization"? "Rebuild your civilization"? So we have no civilization in our country today? We can't and won't have civilization unless we're all of one skin color and one religion?

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That's not the America of freedom and inclusiveness we know.

This isn't the first time we have found fault with King for insensitive, inflammatory language and behavior and expressed concern about its impact on our congressional district. Each time King immerses himself in controversy like this, he holds up the 4th District to disdain and ridicule in the eyes of Americans in other places and marginalizes himself within the legislative body he serves, neither of which provides benefit to Iowans who live here.

As we have said before, we recognize a variety of King attributes and talents. Instead of trying to "save" Western civilization, we suggest King spend more time putting his skills to use on behalf of constituents back home who, by the way, provided him with the platform he too often abuses through offensive words and actions.

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