Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and far-right radio host Alex Jones had a tense exchange on Wednesday, with Rubio snapping at him not to touch him while Jones harangued the Florida lawmaker over what he called a "Big Tech" conspiracy to silence him.
Jones runs InfoWars.com and has promoted conspiracy theories such as one claiming the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting didn't occur. He interrupted an interview Rubio was conducting in the Senate halls during a break from an Intelligence Committee hearing on social media and national security.
The conspiracy theorist asked Rubio whether he had a First Amendment right to free speech; Rubio replied he supported the First Amendment but knew nothing about Jones or his site.
Jones said the same thing Rubio warned about happening in China is occurring in the United States, referring to action taken last month by YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, and Apple to remove his site's content for violating their hate-speech rules.
"What about the Democrats purging conservatives?" Jones asked, as Rubio continued talking to reporters. "He isn't answering. Republicans are acting like it isn't happening. Thank God Trump is."
Here's video of the Alex Jones – Rubio spat https://t.co/lGDaHAcZUc
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) September 5, 2018
Rubio eventually acknowledged him again, laughing he had a "heckler at a press gaggle," while again saying he didn't know who Jones was or about his website. Jones said Rubio "plays dumb" and imitated Rubio's laughter at him.
Jones, who had already touched Rubio's shoulder when he entered the gaggle, touched him again, and Rubio told him to stop.
"Hey, don't touch me again, man," Rubio said. "I'm asking you not to touch me."
Jones said Rubio wanted to have him arrested.
"You're not going to get arrested, man. I'll take care of you myself," Rubio said.
Jones accused the senator of wanting to beat him up and called him a "little gangster thug." As Rubio went on speaking to reporters about not wanting the government to regulate social media platforms, Jones continued to heckle him and said the "Democrats are raping Info Wars."
Rubio returned to the committee and told reporters "you guys can talk to this clown," referring to Jones.