GOP Rep. Steve King (Iowa) on Saturday defended his association with a Nazi-linked group in Austria, telling The Washington Post that the group is “far right.”
He made the comments about Austria’s Freedom Party, a group founded by a former Nazi SS officer and whose current leader was active in neo-Nazi circles, according to the paper.
“If they were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans,” King, who is known for his inflammatory statements about immigration, told the Post.
King made comments lamenting the “decline” of Western civilization due to immigration in an August interview with Austria’s Freedom Party, according to the Post, asking: “What does this diversity bring that we don’t already have?”
His comments to the Post came after 11 worshippers were killed in a shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, in what is the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history.
King told the Post that he is not anti-Semitic and touted his support for Israel.
The Iowa Republican, who is running for his ninth term, has repeatedly come under criticism for his comments about immigration and diversity.
“Diversity is not our strength,” King tweeted last year. “Assimilation has become a dirty word to the multiculturalist Left.”
Earlier this month, King tweeted support for a Toronto mayoral candidate who was fired by an “alt-right” media outlet after appearing on a podcast for the Daily Stormer, a prominent neo-Nazi website. He has also expressed support for far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders.
And last year, King tweeted that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
King is expected to easily win reelection against Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten, though Scholten has out-fundraised King over the last two years.
The Hill has reached out to the King campaign for comment.