If the issue is national security, reporters seem secure in the knowledge that they’ll get a good sound bite from Rep. Peter T. King of New York.
King, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, was on everyone’s speed dial after a 23-year-old Nigerian man tried to set off an explosive device on a plane about to land in Detroit last week.
“This was the real deal,” King declared, as reported in The New York Times. “This could have been devastating.”
Peter T. King
Quick off the mark, the Long Island congressman was outraged in November after Michaele and Tareq Salahi crashed a White House party.
“We can’t show this type of weakness to terrorists, to psychopaths,” King declared in calling for a House hearing on security at the White House.
Earlier in the year, King offered thoughts on the death of Pop star Michael Jackson.
In a video, King called the singer a “low life” and a “pedophile” who, in contrast to soldiers, firefighters and teachers, did not deserve the attention he received.
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School, King, 65, served as Nassau County comptroller before running for Congress in 1992 with the backing of then-Sen. Alfonse M. D’Amato.
King won with a 3-percent margin over his Democratic opponent and has been easily re-elected seven times.
In 1998, King became known as a Republican maverick for being one of only four Republicans in the House who did not support the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
An Irish-American, King was for years an outspoken supporter of the Irish Republican Army and its efforts to remove British forces from Northern Ireland.
But he later backed away from the IRA and Ireland itself, telling the New York Sun that the Irish displayed a “knee-jerk Anti-Americanism” after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
King also came to support President George W. Bush, whom he had called the tool of “anti-Catholic bigoted forces” during the 2000 presidential primary campaign.
This year, King had been mentioned as a possible Republican senatorial candidate in New York, taking on the Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand.
In September, he said he wouldn’t enter the race, saying he couldn’t raise enough money to overcome the Democratic advantage in enrollment.
King is the author of three novels. Terrible Beauty and Deliver Us from Evil focus on Ireland. Vale of Tears treats the issue of terrorism.
His son, Sean King, is a vice president at Park Strategies, D’Amato’s lobbying firm.