(CNN) – GOP Rep. Steve King of Iowa, seeking to bat away allegations of racism by an angry constituent, warned Tuesday against presuming that different cultures are equal.
His comment comes months after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, announced that the longtime Iowa Republican was being removed from congressional committee assignments following racist comments.
In a video of the town hall posted to King’s Facebook page on Tuesday, the congressman can be seen getting into a heated back-and-forth with someone at the event who challenged his statements as “dehumanizing.” After a lengthy argument, King told the audience that he does not “deal in race.”
CNN could not immediately reach King for comment.
King said at the town hall that “new ideas” could be welcomed from other cultures after debate “as to whether they are a plus and enhance and contribute to the civilization that we are.”
“That’s the way I look at this,” he said. “It is not about race. It’s never been about race. It is about culture.”
Long a controversial figure, King faced a major backlash earlier this year after he appeared to lament to The New York Times that the terms “white supremacist” and “white nationalist” were considered offensive.
King said his comments had been taken out of context, and that he rejects white supremacist ideology and labels on individuals. Shortly thereafter, McCarthy removed King from serving on committees in the current Congress.