Republican Iowa congressman Steve King has refused to apologize for retweeting a British neo-Nazi earlier this month.
King, who represents Iowa’s 4th district, told CNN on Tuesday that he didn’t realize he had retweeted a message by Mark Collett, a former chairman of the youth wing of the far-right British National Party and an associate of former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke.
But he said he wasn’t sorry for unintentionally sharing the June 12 tweet and refused to delete it.
“Because then it’d be like I’m admitting that I did something, now I’m sorry about it,” he said, when questioned about why he wouldn’t delete a message by a self-described Nazi sympathizer. “I’m not sorry. I’m human.”
King, known for his firm anti-immigration views, said he only shared the message because he noticed a screenshot of a Breitbart article that was cited in Collett’s tweet, which read, “65% of Italians under the age of 35 now oppose mass immigration. Europe is waking up…”
King retweeted it and added, “Europe is waking up…Will America…in time?”
He also said he has never heard Collett’s name before.
“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,” King said. “I mean it’s the message, not the messenger.”
For the first time on Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office weighed into the controversy, saying in a statement: “The Speaker has said many times that Nazis have no place in our politics, and clearly members should not engage with anyone promoting hate.”