WASHINGTON – Infowars' Alex Jones repeatedly heckled Sen. Marco Rubio Wednesday as reporters interviewed the Florida Republican on Capitol Hill, setting off a tense encounter between the two men.
“Marco Rubio, the snake,” Jones called out as reporters gathered around the senator for a hallway interview. “Little frat boy here.”
Rubio had just attended a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee where top Silicon Valley executives, including Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, testified about how to prevent outside manipulation of their social-media platforms by Russian and other foreign actors.
At first, Rubio laughed off the comments, but eventually he turned to address Jones.
“Who are you? Who is this guy? I swear to God. I don’t know who you are man,” Rubio said before going back to the reporters' questions.
Jones is the publisher of Infowars, a media outlet that has been criticized for peddling conspiracy theories, including that the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012 did not happen and was staged by the government. Recently Apple, Facebook, YouTube and other companies banned Jones and Infowars for violating their terms of service.
The companies said Jones had an engaged in hate speech and contributed to the harassment of users.
Jones and Infowars remain on Twitter, and Jones maintains the support of President Donald Trump.
While Jones operates an independent website, most of Infowars' audience came from social media sites like Facebook and YouTube. Jones was in Washington to appeal to the tech executives to reinstate him and his company.
At one point, Jones patted Rubio on the back.
"Don't touch me again man. I'm asking you not to touch me," Rubio said.
Jones asked if he is going to get arrested to "protect the First Amendment."
"You're not going to get arrested man. I'll take care of it myself," Rubio said.
Jones takes the comment and runs with it. "You're going to beat me up? You're not going to silence me."
Rubio laughed off the comments, but Jones continued.
"You are literally like a little gangster thug," he said.
After giving a few answers about the committee meeting, Rubio's patience appeared to run out and moved on.
"I gotta go. You guys can talk to this clown," Rubio told the reporters.