Just days after he claimed in July that white people had contributed more to civilization than any other "subgroup," Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) asked black journalist April Ryan why she thought she had a "right" to call him "racist." He recounted the story during an interview Thursday with a local Iowa radio station: "She approached me at the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame a day or two later, with her tape recorder — it was one of those things you call a media ambush — and so, she began to call me a racist," King said. "And I said, 'Use that word again, again, again, say it a million times. You're devaluating the effect of it. You've got no basis for it — because you have more melanin in your skin, does that give you the right to call me a racist?'"
King cited the backlash from his July challenge to an MSNBC panel — when he asked them to state a "subgroup" of people that had contributed more to society than "western civilization" — as one of the reasons for his "rejection" of words like "bigot" and "racist." Ryan was a member of that MSNBC panel, and King says his encounter with her occurred shortly after that.