JTA — Alex Jones, the right-wing conspiracy theorist, wanted to cause a spectacle by debating Sen. Bernie Sanders at Los Angeles International Airport — but Sanders wasn’t having it.
Jones is the host of “InfoWars,” a show known for promoting conspiracy theories such as the false claim that the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax. He has also called figures such as Rahm Emanuel and George Soros part of a “Jewish mafia” that controls the United States, and claimed that Jewish actors posed as neo-Nazis at the Charlottesville rally last year.
Armed with his cellphone on Sunday, and followed by a cameraman, Jones ambushed the independent Vermont senator and 2016 presidential candidate while he was waiting for a flight.
An aide quickly blocked Jones from reaching Sanders.
“Dude, no, come on, not right now,” the aide said, recognizing Jones.
Sanders remained silent throughout the whole ordeal, but the aide kept stonewalling Jones, cutting him off every time he tried to make an end-run toward Sanders.
That didn’t stop Jones from repeatedly challenging Sanders about a statement he made during a 2016 primary debate: “When you’re white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor.”
The statement, which Jones called “racist,” was part of Sanders’ answer to a question about his racial blind spots as a white person.
Jones also called Sanders “the living embodiment of communist and socialist evil and failure,” and compared him to former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Sanders self-identifies as a democratic socialist, but does not support communism.
Later on in the chase, an onlooker bashed Jones for his false conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook shooting.
“Why don’t you stop being an idiot for a second?” he said to the camera. “I’m mad you’re a Sandy Hook denier… You deny Sandy Hook, and you’re giving him a hard time?”
When Jones claimed (again, falsely) that Hillary Clinton edited tapes of the Sandy Hook shooting, the man responded, “You’re an idiot! You win.”
This isn’t the first time Sanders has ignored a right-wing journalist trying to put him on the spot. In 2015, Fox News’ Jesse Watters followed Sanders down a hallway, but the senator responded “I don’t do ambush interviews.”