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Steve King Asks if There Would Be ‘Any Population’ Left Without Rape and Incest

Representative Steve King of Iowa, a Republican whose history of making racist and divisive remarks led him to be stripped of his committee assignments earlier this year, questioned Wednesday if there would “be any population of the world left” if it were not for rape and incest.

Mr. King, who represents a deeply conservative district in northwest Iowa, made the remarks to the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, as he explained his opposition to exceptions for rape and incest in anti-abortion legislation.

“It’s not the baby’s fault,” Mr. King said in video of the comments published by The Des Moines Register, which first reported the story.

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that? Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that’s taken place, and whatever happened to culture after society, I know that I can’t certify that I’m not a product of that. And I’d like to think every one of the lives of us are as precious as any other life.”

A spokesman for Mr. King did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. King’s latest remarks come just over a week after J. D. Scholten, a Democrat who nearly defeated him in 2018, announced that he would run again for Mr. King’s congressional seat in 2020. Mr. King defeated Mr. Scholten by just 10,000 votes last November.

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

“His comments are disrespectful to survivors and don’t reflect Iowan values,” Mr. Scholten added.

Numerous Democratic presidential candidates called on Mr. King to resign.

“Steve King is a racist, a misogynist and a disgrace to the country,” said Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. “He should not be a member of the United States Congress.”

“You are a disgrace. Resign,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was one of several candidates who urged donations to Mr. Scholten.

During his nine terms in Congress, Mr. King has publicly promoted white nationalists and neo-Nazis on Twitter and frequently insulted immigrants. He once famously said that for every child of an undocumented immigrant who becomes a valedictorian, “there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

[Here is a timeline of Steve King’s racist remarks and divisive actions.]

He was stripped of his congressional committee assignments earlier this year by House Republicans after he questioned why white supremacism was offensive. A number of powerful party leaders, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, suggested he should resign, and the House overwhelmingly passed a resolution disapproving of Mr. King’s statements.

Mr. King has insisted that his comments were misunderstood.

Two months later, in March, Mr. King came under scrutiny again when he said he did not “have an answer” when asked directly whether he believed a white society to be superior to a nonwhite society.

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