Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) was at the center of an uproar on 19 July 2016, a day after he wondered aloud on national television what people who aren’t white and Western have ever done for the development of civilization. 

The Des Moines Register reported that his comments came on a cable news show after another panelist pointed out that the Republican National Convention appeared to be made up of predominantly white people:

“This ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie,” King said. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

Hayes asked: “Than white people?”

“Than, than Western civilization itself,” King said. “It’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of Western civilization.”

The reactions were swift and harsh, with MSNBC host Chris Hayes defending his decision to not pursue the conversation immediately afterward, cutting off another panelist to do so. Hayes later said that he may have made the wrong decision: 

King was in the news a week before for prominently displaying a Confederate flag on his desk.