By Umar Farooq
WASHINGTON (AA) - Congressman Steve King sparked anger and calls for his resignation Wednesday after saying humans might not exist if it were not for rape or incest while discussing anti-abortion legislation.
"What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?" he said in Iowa, according to a video posted by the Des Moines Register newspaper.
"Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can't say that I was not a part of a product of that."
King’s comments were sharply criticized by other lawmakers, who called him a racist.
"Steve King is a racist, a misogynist and a disgrace to the country. He should not be a member of the United States Congress," presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said on Twitter.
"No matter where you live, you know there's no place for Steve King's racism, bigotry and hatred in Congress," tweeted another presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke.
King made the remarks during a discussion at the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, while defending his stance on not allowing rape or incest to serve as exceptions in anti-abortion legislation he tried passing in Congress.
"Today's comments by @RepSteveKingIA are appalling and bizarre. As I've said before, it’s time for him to go. The people of Iowa's 4th congressional district deserve better," Wyoming lawmaker Liz Cheney said on Twitter.
In January, Republicans in the House of Representatives removed all of King's committee assignments after he complained about the term "white supremacist" being considered offensive during an interview.
King’s latest comments also generated a response from JD Scholten, a Democrat trying to unseat the congressman in the 2020 elections.
"Our congressman continues to push his selfish agenda above the needs of #IA04 -- this time he excuses violence," Scholten said, referring to Iowa’s 4th district.
Last year, King publicly said he did not want Somali Muslims working in meat packing factories in his district.
He said Muslims' "rationale is that if infidels are eating this pork, they aren't eating it, so as long as they're preparing this pork for infidels, it helps send 'em to hell and it'll make Allah happy."