A combative Congressman Steve King confronted a high-profile environmentalist during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday. Robert F. Kennedy, Junior — son of the New York Senator who was killed as he was running for president in 1968 — has been a passionate critic of large-scale livestock confinements. King pressed Kennedy to explain one of his past statements.
"I just reflect back on a meeting in Clear Lake (Iowa) a few years ago and the quote that I recall…’Large scale hog producers were a greater threat to the United States and democracy than Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network,’ King said. "Is that an accurate quote?" Kennedy replied: "I don’t know if that’s an accurate quote, but I believe it and I support it."
Kennedy continued to speak, but King quickly interrupted him and the two had a heated exchange. "You asked me an inflammatory question and I’m giving you an answer for it," Kennedy said. King interrupted. "Your statement, Mr. Kennedy…I’m asking if you can confirm it," King said, referencing the bin Laden quote.
Later, during the nine-minute-long exchange between the two men, King asked Kennedy whether the community service he’d been sentenced to after a drug conviction in 1983 had sparked his interest in environmental issues. Kennedy worked at an environmental foundation to fulfill his community service obligation. Kennedy is currently the senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Counsel.