Iowa congressman questions non-white contributions to civilization

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CLEVELAND (KPLR) – During a cable news appearance at the Republican National Convention, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) questioned the contributions of non-white “sub-groups” throughout the history of civilization.

King was sitting on an MSNBC panel with Esquire writer Charles Pierce and Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan when the discussion shifted to the demographics of the Republican Party. Pierce suggested that the party would soon no longer belong to “old white people,” prompting King to respond.

“This whole ‘white people’ business does get a little tired,” King said. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where these contributions that have been made by these categories of people that you’re talking about—where did any other sub-group of people contribute more to civilization?”

The comments were met with uncomfortable laughter from Pierce and Ryan and a pointed reaction from panel moderator Chris Hayes.

King continued: “Than Western civilization itself that’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and the United States of America, and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of Western civilization.”

Ryan, seemingly aghast at the congressman’s statement, interjected, “What about Africa? What about Asia?”

“We’re not going to argue the history of civilization,” Hayes said before wrapping the segment and tossing to a commercial break.

Hayes later took to Twitter to explain his motives for moving on from that topic and not engaging the congressman with follow-up questions.

As of Tuesday morning, Rep. King has not commented on his appearance.