By Justin Sink
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) invited the rodeo clown who sparked controversy by donning a mask of President Obama at the Missouri State Fair to preform in Texas, his office said Wednesday.
“Liberals want to bronco bust dissent. But Texans value speech, even if its speech they don’t agree with,” Stockman said in a statement. “From Molly Ivins to Louie Gohmert and every opinion between, Texans value free and open political speech. I’m sure any rodeo in Texas would be proud to have [the] performers.”
But Stockman dismissed the reaction as "straight out of Alinsky."
"They want to crush dissent by isolating and polarizing anyone who questions Obama, even if it’s a rodeo clown with a harmless gag,” said Stockman. “The idea to create a state of fear and make people afraid to trivialize Obama. No one tried to personally destroy the rodeo clown who wore a George H.W. Bush mask.”
The performer has been permanently banned from performing at the Missouri State Fair, and officials have mandated sensitivity training for future performers. Stockman seized on that mandate in extending his invitation to preform in Texas.
“Disagreeing with speech is one thing. Banning it and ordering citizens into reeducation classes for mocking a liberal leader is another,” Stockman said. “Liberals have targeted this man for personal destruction to create a climate of fear.”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said earlier Wednesday the flap was "not one of the finer moments" for his home state of Missouri, although said he had not spoken about the incident with the president.
It's not the first time Stockman has looked to seize on controversy. The Texas lawmaker invited Ted Nugent as his guest to the State of the Union after the rocker was criticized for his claim that he would "be dead or in jail" if the president was reelected.