In February, a software engineer named Joseph Stack flew a small aircraft into an IRS building in Texas, killing two people and leaving another two hospitalized. Days after the incident, ThinkProgress spoke to Rep. Steve King (R-IA) about the attack, who justified the suicide attack on the IRS:
TP: Do you think this attack, this terrorist attack, was motivated at all by a lot of the anti-tax rhetoric that’s popular in America right now?
KING: I think if we’d abolished the IRS back when I first advocated it, he wouldn’t have a target for his airplane. And I’m still for abolishing the IRS, I’ve been for it for thirty years and I’m for a national sales tax. […] It’s sad the incident in Texas happened, but by the same token, it’s an agency that is unnecessary and when the day comes when that is over and we abolish the IRS, it’s going to be a happy day for America.
TP: So some of his grievances were legitimate?
KING: I don’t know if his grievances were legitimate, I’ve read part of the material. I can tell you I’ve been audited by the IRS and I’ve had the sense of ‘why is the IRS in my kitchen.’ Why do they have their thumb in the middle of my back. … It is intrusive and we can do a better job without them entirely.
Today, King spoke at FreedomWorks‘ Tax Day Tea Party Rally in Washington, D.C. I caught up with him to get further clarification about his remarks, asking, “Do you regret what you said when you justified the attack against the IRS building?”
King initially tried to ignore me by walking away, but when I repeated my question, the congressman forcefully grabbed my arm and angrily accused me of calling him a murderer. Still holding onto my arm, King got just inches from my face and told me to shut off my camera. Here’s our exchange:
TP: It is tax day and you justified the murder of American federal employees at CPAC.
KING: Are you accusing me of that? Are you accusing me of that? Turn that camera off. I’m not going to have those allegations. You accuse me of murder. That is despicable behavior.
TP: I’m sorry — I did not say that, I did not say that.
KING: That is despicable behavior for any American on this earth to do such a thing.
TP: The camera is off —
KING: We are done.
I complied with King’s demand that my camera be turned off. However, ThinkProgress had a second camera at the event, and we captured the entire exchange on video. Watch it:
The Omaha World-Herald reports that King was slippery about the subject of whether Obama is a socialist:
Following his appearance, King told the World-Herald that policies being pursued in Washington today have been “lifted off the socialist Web site.”
Is he calling the president a socialist?
“I don’t need to,” King said. “Let somebody else find that definition. That’s all just the facts.”