Gabby Kaufman

Representative Steve King, R-Iowa, told the New York Times on Tuesday that he believes in the existence of a “deep state” attempting to undermine President Trump’s administration.

“We are talking about the emergence of a deep state led by Barack Obama, and that is something that we should prevent,” King told the Times. “The person who understands this best is Steve Bannon, and I would think that he’s advocating to make some moves to fix it.”

The term “deep state,” which is relatively new to American politics, has been used to describe a permanent military, intelligence and law-enforcement bureaucracy manipulating government policies in secret.

King added that Trump “needs to purge the leftists within the administration that are holdovers from the Obama administration, because it appears that they are undermining his administration and his chances of success.”

King’s remarks echoed a previous statement made on his Twitter account, where he wrote the president “needs to purge Leftists from executive branch before disloyal, illegal & treasonist [sic] acts sink us.”

King said the Obama family’s decision to continue to live in Washington, D.C., is an indication that the former president is leading efforts to disrupt the current administration. In reality, the Obamas have said that they will stay in Washington until their younger daughter, Sasha, graduates from high school. The Obama Presidential Center and the Obama Foundation will both be based in Chicago.

Talk of a deep state began when Trump tweeted, without citing evidence, that Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower, where the Trump campaign was based, shortly before the presidential election. Last week, it was reported that some members of Obama’s White House took steps to preserve intelligence regarding Russia’s interference with the presidential election before Trump was sworn in.

A spokesperson for King did not respond to a request for comment.