At a time when America is suffering from an excess of divisive national rhetoric, the last thing we need is more divisive national rhetoric.

But, sadly, that’s what we got Sunday from U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who has an unfortunate record of exclusionary and incendiary remarks.

On Sunday, King tweeted “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” and on Monday he told CNN, he “meant exactly what I said.”

America has been called a land of immigrants, but we also have a widely admired heritage of knitting people from a wide array of disparate backgrounds into a thriving society with a common purpose. We don’t single out particular Americans as “somebody else’s baby.”


Yet our unity is under attack from within. A wave of anti-Semitic threats has included bomb threats at Jewish community centers. Mosques have received death threats. Many Latinos, transgender people, Asian-Americans and others feel under siege. Cultural nationalism is on the rise. This is a scourge our elected leaders should be working to dispel. They should not be fanning its flames.

Fortunately, Jeff Kaufmann, chairman of the Iowa Republican Party, quickly distanced himself from King’s tweet. But we’re still waiting for an overwhelming chorus of his party’s national leaders to join him.

Political leaders should respect all people and cultures they represent. They also should uphold the core values of our nation. Rep. King doesn’t understand that. More of his colleagues need to remind him.

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