MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) — Florida US Senator Marco Rubio got into a back-and-forth Wednesday with far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in a Capitol Hill hallway.
Jones, who is the controversial InfoWars founder, repeatedly interrupted Rubio while he was attempting to answer questions from reporters during a recess in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing on foreign use of social media to influence US politics.
After talking over Rubio a few times, Jones tapped the senator on the shoulder, as seen in video live-streamed and promoted by Cassandra Fairbanks, a right-wing blogger and an activist.
“Hey, don’t touch me again, man,” Rubio said to Jones. “I’m asking you not to touch me again.”
“Sure, I just patted you nicely,” said Jones, who was standing to Rubio’s right in the swarm of reporters, Rubio’s staff and security in the Senate hallway.
Rubio replied, “But I don’t want to be touched. I don’t know who you are.”
“You want me to get arrested,” Jones claimed.
Rubio then said, “You’re not going to get arrested. I’ll take care of you myself.”
That led Jones to repeatedly argue to the assembled reporters that Rubio “threatened to physically take care of me.”
A spokesperson for Rubio’s office said the video speaks for itself.
Jones also hurled other attacks at Rubio, including calling the Florida senator a “little frat boy,” “snake-like” and a “gangster thug.”
After attempting to answer a few more questions over Jones’ continued commentary, Rubio, who sits on the Senate panel, told reporters “you guys can talk to this clown,” before walking off.
Rubio later told reporters that coverage of Jones made “crazy people superstars.”
“I know you’ve got to cover them, but you give these guys way too much attention,” Rubio told reporters on Capitol Hill. “We’re making crazy people superstars. So, we (are) going to get crazier people.”
Jones was suspended earlier this year from YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms. His organization, InfoWars, spreads demonstrably false information and conspiracy theories on a host of issues, including claiming that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax.
On Wednesday, before confronting Rubio, Jones held a freewheeling gaggle with reporters outside the Senate hearing room where Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey were set to testify.
Jones was barred from entering the hearing at first since he did not hold press credentials, but he was eventually allowed in as a member of the public and stayed through the first part of the hearing.
Jones also interrupted interviews with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon as well. When Wyden walked off, Jones called him an “un-American tyrant.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company, contributed to this report).