What to Know
- Infowars host Alex Jones rants in the halls of Congress just before executives of social media giants began testimony Wednesday
- Sen. Marco Rubio told Jones "don't touch me again, man," after Jones patronizingly patted the Florida Republican's shoulder
Infowars boss and far-right media personality Alex Jones got a stern warning Wednesday as he heckled and patronizingly patted Sen. Marco Rubio in the halls of Congress while ranting about being banned from social media platforms.
"Don't touch me again, man," snapped Rubio after Jones pawed his shoulder while the Florida Republican was trying to answer questions from a gaggle of reporters amid a constant stream of interruptions from the unhinged conspiracy monger.
"I don't know who you are," Rubio said, after calling Jones "a dumb ass" and rolling his eyes in response to the frequent taunts aimed at him.
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Jones claimed Rubio would try to get him arrested. Jones was at risk of just that after a security guard quickly removed his hand from Rubio's shoulder, warned Jones not to do it again and then alerted colleagues over a radio.
"You're not going to get arrested," Rubio said. "I'll take care of it myself."
Jones then said, "Rubio just threatened to physically take care of me."
The bizarre scene came as the Senate Intelligence Committee took testimony from top executives at several social media companies.
Jones – who has argued that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were an "inside job" and that school shootings were staged – blasted lawmakers for not seeking his own testimony to defend himself from "slanderous" accusations that have led to multiple bans online.
"The media ran a hoax and said I said things on Twitter I didn't say," Jones fumed in a tirade aired earlier live on CNBC, referring to one of the social media platforms that has yet to ban Infowars content or him.
"This is dangerous authoritarianism and they package silencing Americans who are popular and well-spoken," Jones said. "Because what I'm saying is effective, true and popular."
Over the years, Jones cultivated a rabid following among fringe political groups and internet denizens, but he has received more mainstream traction in recent years. Before his recent criticism of the president about Syria airstrikes, Jones and Donald Trump exchanged praise. Trump appeared on Jones' show in December 2015, just as the campaign for the GOP presidential nomination was heating up.
Jones on Wednesday accused the media of trying to get him removed from more platforms "so I can't respond to lies." His show was effectively banned in recent weeks by Apple, YouTube, Facebook and Spotify.
"Think about this, in America, "Jones said. "I have been unable — this is the 11th hearing which they have had in the last year and a half when I am one of the main focuses where I haven't been called to testify, when they say outrageous, slanderous things."
He took up that theme later in the morning when Rubio began speaking to a small group of journalists in a hallway.
Jones began complaining about his "deplatforming" from a number of big social media companies as Rubio gamely tried to seriously respond to reporters' questions.
"It's weird man. Who is this guy?" said Rubio, referring to Jones, who was standing immediately to his right while keeping up a steady stream of interruptions.
"And then he plays dumb," Jones sniped, arguing that Rubio did in fact know him and his Infowars show.
"That's why you didn't get elected, because you're a snake," Jones said, referring to Rubio's failed 2016 presidential campaign.
After the shoulder-patting incident, Rubio continued speaking to reporters, but then a staffer said he had to go.
"You guys can talk to this clown," the senator said, as he walked off.
Jones wasn't done.
"Go back to your bathhouse. Compromises and bathouse," Jones said.
"There goes Rubio. That little punk."
Jones' jeremiads in the hallways added to what has been a circus-like atmosphere on Capitol Hill in the past several days, where dozens of people were arrested Tuesday protesting the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Jones spoke outside of the room where Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey were set to begin testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Last week, a judge in Texas rejected Jones' bid to dismiss a lawsuit accusing him of defaming the parents of victims of the Sandy Hook school massacre, which Jones has repeatedly claimed was a hoax.
This story first appeared on CNBC. More from CNBC: