Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told CNN on Tuesday that he supported an anti-Muslim event in Texas that inspired a shooting over the weekend because “Western civilization is superior.”
The controversial conservative congressman explained to CNN host Chris Cuomo that he knew that an attack by the supporters of the terrorist group ISIS “was coming” even before two men opened fire at the event mocking Islam in Garland, Texas.
“It was going to happen eventually in the United States,” he insisted. “The event that was going on in Garland, Texas, if someone would have told me that this happened somewhere in America, I think I could have told you where it was without having been told.”
Cuomo, however, wondered if Pam Geller’s group had been using free speech “as a cover to poke Islam in the eye.”
“I don’t think that what they did down there was offensive,” King said of the contest to draw a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. “I think it was a robust demonstration of freedom of speech, and we have to do that. If the speech is not offensive, it doesn’t need to be protected by our First Amendment of the Constitution.”
King also pointed out that he had invited one of the participants from the Texas event, anti-Islamic Dutch politician Geert Wilders, to speak at four events in Washington, D.C.
“As he says, Western civilization is superior,” the Iowa Republican opined. “And we need to understand why it’s superior. I often talk about the pillars of American Exceptionalism.”
Cuomo interrupted: “What makes America great as a culture, as you well know, is what we do by example. Not that we say that we’re better than everybody else. I mean, that’s not American.”
“If Wilders was saying that Christianity was the ‘ideology of the regarded’ [as he had said of Islam] and the Bible should be outlawed, you wouldn’t invite him to Congress,” the CNN host said.
“I guess you just have to ask yourself what it is that you want to promote,” Cuomo added. “I mean, do you believe that Americas future when it comes to collaboration of cultures is to pick on one and paint one in the extreme at its ugliest or do you want to try to cultivate the moderates within Islam and show them that they’re welcome in this country?”
Watch the video below from CNN’s New Day, broadcast May 5, 2015.