Republican Congressman Steve King jumped into the controversy over a rodeo clown who performed at the Missouri State Fair wearing a mask resembling President Obama Friday with a tweet urging the president to “relax” and invite the performer for a beer summit at the White House.
Mr. President: Invite the rodeo clown 2 the White House 4 a beer summit. Take the temperature down, have a laugh, relax. It’s not about race
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) August 16, 2013
King joins a chorus of conservatives who have complained that the issue has been taken too seriously by critics. Republican Congressman Steve Stockman called the incident a “harmless gag” and announced this week that he was inviting the rodeo clown to perform in his district.
“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,” Stockman said.
The conversation surrounding the event became race-focused in part because of how it was described by the witness who provided video of it to news outlets.
Perry Beam complained to NBC’s KSHB News that he found the depiction of Obama as a rodeo clown as well as the crowd’s reaction to the event “disturbing.”
“I felt like I was at a Klan rally,” he told Raw Story, which reported Beam was outraged by “the racial subtext about calling for violence against the president.”
The NAACP has taken flak after the president of the organization’s Missouri chapter called for an investigation into the event.
“The activities at the Missouri State Fair targeting and inciting violence against our President are serious and warrant a full review by both the Secret Service and the Justice Department,” Mary Ratliff, President of the Missouri NAACP, said according to OzarksFirst.com.
Fox News host Sean Hannity called the reaction “paranoia.”
“Really? You want your government to spend your hard earned taxpayer dollars investigating this?” he said on his Wednesday show, while criticizing the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association president’s decision to resign over the incident.
“You people on the left, who the hell do you think you are?” Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show of the criticism. “You can’t laugh. You can’t take a joke. You can’t take a punch. You can’t take anything.”
The president has yet to weigh in on the issue himself. When asked about it on Wednesday during the White House briefing, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said it was not one of Missouri’s “finer moments.”
“I have not talked to my colleagues in the White House about this, and I haven’t heard about the President’s reaction or if he had one,” Earnest said. ”I can tell you as a native Missourian it’s certainly not one of the finer moments for our state, and not the way that I like to see our state mentioned in the news.”