WASHINGTON, D.C. — Peter King was rather pleased with the way his controversial hearing was conducted today.
“I’m more convinced than ever that it was the appropriate hearing to hold,” he told reporters in the rotunda of the Cannon building a few minutes after the Homeland Security Committee adjourned its inquiry into the alleged radicalization of Muslim-Americans. “We broke down a wall of political correctness.”
King called it an “extremely productive, worthwhile hearing,” and he challenged his critics to find any grounds for disputing that notion.
“I would say look at today’s hearing,” King said. “I challenge anyone to find anything that was improper about today’s hearing, anything that was not done in a totally professional way. We went out of our way. We actually had three members who were not even on the committee–Democrats…I urged Keith Ellison, who was not a member of the committee, to take unlimited time to speak before the committee hearing.”
After the two panels had testified, several Democrats on the committee suggested that the inquiry, while being unduly restricted to Muslims, also wasn’t yielding much, save for a few anecdotes.
“I would certainly look upon it as far more than anecdotes,” King said in the post-hearing press conference, before yielding the bank of microphones to California Republican Dan Lungren, a fellow member of the committee.
“The purpose of today’s hearing was to inform, not to inflame,” Lungren said. “If you listen to what we had today, we didn’t have anecdotes, we had evidence.”
King also dismissed the notion, suggested by one reporter, that the hearing’s focus on Muslims might have a pernicious “subliminal” impact on the Muslim-American community.
“I certainly hope not,” King said. “I’ll tell you, I think the way myself and the other members of the committee, the way we’ve conducted ourselves in the lead-up to this hearing, the way the hearing was conducted today, there’s absolutely no reason for anyone to worry about any impact, subliminal or otherwise.”
“If there should be any impact it’s the mindless hysteria that pervaded the media and the airwaves over the last couple of weeks,” he said.
King encouraged the press to look in the mirror after several weeks of building up his hearing, but also took the interest as a measure of his own success.
“The fact that all of you are still here, I guess it went okay,” he said.