King has sparked several controversies for using white supremacist language, including sponsoring a white nationalist fringe candidate for Toronto mayor.
'White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization - how did that language become offensive?' King was quoted saying in the New York Times Thursday. Mr. King said. "Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?" 3 Republican, said King's remarks were "abhorrent and racist and should have no place in our national discourse".
His comment drew immediate blowback, including condemnation from two fellow House Republicans.
"This is an embrace of racism, and it has no place in Congress or anywhere", Representative Justin Amash, the Republican from MI, tweeted.
King claimed that he did not embrace racism.
Earlier in the day, the New York Times published a lengthy interview with and profile on King in which he said he didn't understand when the terms became dirty words. But already, one Republican Congressman is making life hard.
Additionally, while King's statement Thursday afternoon appears to distinguish a support for Western civilization from a belief in white supremacy, he seemed to lump those ideas together in his quote in the Times.
Representative Liz Cheney (left), the Republican from Wyoming, speaks after the weekly House Republican Conference meeting, on Capitol Hill, on March 20, 2018.
Asked to weigh in on King's comments, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Lousiana told reporters, "It's offensive to try to legitimize those terms".
Following the report's publishing, King argued in a statement posted on his Twitter account that he is "simply a Nationalist". "We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior".
"I don't think I can answer that clearly", the Congressman said. Then he doubled down on CNN, telling the network, "I'd like to see an America that's just so homogeneous that we look a lot the same".
Despite the criticism, King narrowly won re-election in November.