GOP Rep. Steve King tries to walk back support of white nationalism in NBC interview
Rep. Steve King (R-IA (CNN)

After Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was quoted downplaying the severity of the terms "white nationalist" and "white supremacist," he claimed to denounce those ideologies in an interview with NBC's Kasie Hunt.

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.

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?" the Congressman said. "Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

After being criticized and called a racist by people on both sides of the aisle, King claimed in a statement -- and in his interview with Hunt -- that he was quoted out of context.

"What I was really talking about was the continuation of applying labels onto people as freely as they are," King said in the NBC interview Thursday night. "I reject white nationalism, I reject white supremacy, it's not part of any of any of my ideology and I reject anybody who carries that ideology."

Hunt asked the Iowa Republican why he made the statement and he responded that it took place "in the context of a long interview" with the Times.

The reporter when on to ask King if he'd been misquoted -- and he refused to answer.

"I don't think I can answer that clearly," the Congressman said. "I'll just say I have responded to this and I think you understand where I stand."

Watch below via NBC: