WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — South Carolina U.S. senator Tim Scott is speaking out about controversial comments made by Iowa U.S. representative Steve King.

In a recent New York, Times interview, King said,  "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?"

King has a history of making racist comments and interacting with known white nationalists. 

Both King and Scott are Republicans. In an opinion editorial in the Washington-Post, Tim Scott wrote, "Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said."

“[A]nyone who needs ‘white nationalist’ or ‘white supremacist’ defined, described and defended does lack some pretty common knowledge,” Scott added.

Scott is the first African-American U.S. Senator from South Carolina since Reconstruction.

King responded to the column on the House floor Friday saying that he is an advocate for "Western civilization," not white supremacy or white nationalism. But he didn't deny the earlier remarks

King said terms describing bigotry, such as racism, are unfairly applied to "innocent" people. He apologizes for the 'heartburn' it caused his colleagues.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also criticized King's comments. Former GOP Presidential Candidate and Florida Governor Jeb Bush urged for Republicans to find a primary challenger for King, since he said King didn't have the "decency to resign."