EMMETSBURG, Iowa — Rep. Steve King (R-IA) beamed at a town hall meeting on Tuesday as he recounted a recent congressional hearing where he forced witnesses to “confess” that they were vegetarians.
King said the hearing included witnesses who called to testify before the House Agriculture Committee, including the president of the Humane Society as well as other animal rights groups. He recalled how during the hearing, he asked the individuals, “under oath, are you a vegetarian?” King smiled as he told the town hall constituents that they “confessed they were vegetarians, all of them.”
KING: I’m here to tell you I’m a committed carnivore. I like meat. I sit on the Ag Committee and we had a hearing before the Ag Committee when we invited in the president of the Humane Society of the United States, HSUS, President Wayne Pacelle. And we had one or two other witnesses from the anti-meat crowd or anti-animal husbandry crowd. PETA was there and one other animal activist group. So we just asked them, under oath, “are you a vegetarian?” And they confessed they were vegetarians, all of them. Well there they are with an agenda for our diets.
King offered his own “confession” at the end of the hearing. “I too am a vegetarian,” said the Iowa Republican. “I eat concentrated, recycled, enhanced vegetables in the form of meat.”
ThinkProgress went back to review the hearing transcripts to determine whether King’s story is accurate. It is not. The congressional hearing on animal welfare that King appears to be referencing occurred on May 8, 2007. There were no witnesses from PETA. King did not ask anyone “are you a vegetarian?” In fact, it was another member — Steve Kagen (D-WI) — who asked the Humane Society witness to say he was a vegetarian.
The only thing about King’s story that does appear to be true is that he did in fact say “I eat recycled, concentrated, enhanced vegetables in the form of meat.”