As Marco Rubio was attempting to answer questions outside a U.S. Senate hearing with social media executives about Russian interference, someone interrupted him.
It wasn’t an impatient reporter or a liberal protester. It was Alex Jones, the far-right talk show host and conspiracy theorist. He tried to question Rubio about far-right conservative trolls who have been banned from social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube.
“What about the Democrats purging conservatives?” Jones said as Rubio was trying to answer a question from another reporter. “Republicans act like it isn’t happening. Thank God Trump is.”
“That’s weird, man,” Rubio replied with a smile on his face.
For the next three minutes, the one-time presidential candidate was inches away from Jones as Jones shouted insults and interrupted Rubio as he tried to answer questions.
“I just don’t know who you are, man,” Rubio said when Jones kept interrupting him.
Jones started bragging about his website, noting the millions of views his talk show receives on platforms like YouTube and Facebook, which have now banned the far-right host for peddling numerous conspiracy theories, misinformation and harassment of public officials across the political spectrum, including Rubio.
“Infowars.com, you know what it is full well,” Jones said. “That’s why you didn’t get elected, because you’re snake-like.”
Rubio then turned and laughed, and Jones began to mimic his response in a baby-like voice, calling Rubio a “little frat boy.”
“All right man, who are you? Who is this guy? I swear to God I don’t know who you are,” Rubio said.
Jones again bragged about his website’s millions of views, and patted Rubio on the shoulder.
“Don’t touch me again, man. I’m asking you not to touch me,” Rubio said. “I’m not going to arrest you, man, I’ll take care of you myself.”
“Oh he’ll beat me up. He’s so mad. You’re not going to silence me, you’re not going to silence America,” Jones replied.
Rubio tried to answer another question, but Jones started shouting again.
Jones and a host of other far-right personalities crashed a U.S. Senate Intelligence hearing with executives from social media companies, as senators on the committee, including Rubio, questioned the tech companies about Russian interference on their platforms and what they plan to do to stop such activities in the future.
Jones, who is not a reporter, was able to approach Rubio in a Capitol Hill hallway that is open to the public. After the exchange Rubio told reporters that “you give these guys way too much attention.”
“We’re making crazy people superstars, so you’re going to get crazier people,” Rubio said.
The exchange drew the attention of at least one Miami lawmaker. Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo said he’ll be sure not to ever touch Rubio’s shoulder again after watching video of the exchange.
As Jones continued to shout at Rubio, the senator turned away to walk into the hearing.
“I got to go to the committee, you guys can talk to this clown,” Rubio said to the half dozen reporters in the hallway.