“I’ll say this, America is not a white society,” King continued. “It’s never been a completely white society. We came here and joined the Native Americans, who were here in many times numbers greater than ours.”
Later in the exchange, which was captured by CNN and other national media, King added: “I’ve long said that a baby can be lifted out of a cradle anywhere in the world and brought into any home in America, whatever the color of the folks in that household, and they can be raised to be American as any other.”
King, a nine-term lawmaker, was stripped of committee assignments by House Republican leaders in January after questioning in a New York Times interview whether the term “white nationalist” should be offensive.
His comments to the Times followed a string of remarks over the years that disparaged immigrants and minorities and suggested an embrace of far-right foreign politicians and parties that have been openly hostile to those groups.
He was back in the headlines earlier this week following a controversial post on his Facebook page.
It included a meme of two fighting Frankenstein figures, one red and one blue, each an amalgamation of states based on their political leanings.
“Folks keep talking about another civil war,” the meme read. “One side has about 8 trillion bullets, while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use.”
Pressed by a CNN reporter at Tuesday’s town hall meeting, King said he “wasn’t aware” that the image had been posted and that he does not personally manage his Facebook page. The post has since been deleted.
“The only people who care about that is national news media,” King added. “Nobody has raised the issue around here.”
Reis Thebault contributed to this report.