Iowa Rep. Steve King defended retweeting a Nazi sympathizer Tuesday and said he would neither apologize nor delete the tweet.
King told CNN he did not realize that the person he retweeted earlier this month, Mark Collett, was a Nazi sympathizer who has spoken favorably of Adolf Hitler.
Collett had tweeted about how a majority of younger Italians opposed mass migration. King quoted the tweet and added, “Europe is waking up…Will America…in time?”
King said he had never heard of Collett before retweeting him.
“I think it’s really unjust for anyone to assign the beliefs of someone else because there’s a message there among all of that. I mean, it’s the message, not the messenger,” the Iowa Republican said.
But King refused to apologize for the message, even if he didn’t agree with the messenger.
“Because then it would be like I’m admitting that I did something, now I’m sorry about it. I’m not sorry, I’m human,” he said.
King further expanded by saying the United States is a “Judeo-Christian” country and he doesn’t agree with creating “enclaves in America that are the antithesis of Americanism.”
King told CNN he was walking between meetings when he retweeted a Breitbart article that Collett had shared.
“It’s pretty simple. I tweeted a Breitbart story, I didn’t tweet a message from [Collett],” he said.
On Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s spokeswoman offered muted criticism and didn’t mention King’s name when she said, “The speaker has said many times that Nazis have no place in our politics, and clearly members should not engage with anyone promoting hate.”