Iowa Rep. Steve King on Monday defended his controversial tweet that said Western civilization won't be rebuilt with "somebody else's babies," and called for an increase in the U.S. birth rate that would strengthen Western values.

King said on CNN that he wasn't calling for more white people in the United States or criticizing diversity, but instead was trying to make a point about differences in culture and how immigrants from other cultures contribute to society. His point related more to what's happening in western Europe than the United States, but the lesson is the same.

"You cannot rebuild your civilization with somebody else's babies, you've got to keep your birth rate up, and that you need to teach your children your values and in doing so you can grow your population you can grow your culture and you can grow your way of life," King said.

King pointed to abortion as one reason why the United States has needed immigrants in order to keep up its population growth.

When pressed, King said immigrants from different backgrounds — Muslim-Americans, Italian-Americans, German-Americans — "contribute differently to our culture and our civilization" and "if they're assimilated, that's what we want."

"I'd say they're all created in the image of God, and they're equal in his eyes. And if they're citizens of the United States, they're equal in the eyes of the law," King said. "Individuals will contribute differently not equally to this civilization and certain groups of people will contribute more to this society than other groups of people will, that's just a statistical fact."

King said his issue is with a clash of cultures, not race. He said he wasn't speaking as a defender of the white race, but instead as a defender of Western civilization.

"It's far worse in Europe that it is today here in the United States," King said. "I want to look at that, promoting the birth rate in America, restoring the rule of law putting an end to illegal immigration and recognizing we need to be a country pulled together on similar values and that makes us stronger."

He added that Western civilization has made advancements in science and technology, and "there are civilizations that produce little of that if any. Western civilization is a superior civilization."