U.S. politics are getting bizarre, and the 2020 election season isn’t even here yet.
If there was any doubt, an odd incident from Capitol Hill on Thursday should make it clear. Video shared by the leftist group MoveOn appears to show one of their activists following a GOP lawmaker though the halls of his office building, doggedly repeating the same loaded question.
That’s not so strange. But it was Republican Alaska Rep. Don Young’s response that is garnering attention — and a bit of puzzlement.
“As a man repeatedly questioned Young in the Longworth House Office Building, the 86-year-old congressman walked down a hall and toward a section with elevators,” Fox News reported. “As Young waited for the elevators, he walked toward the camera and knocked it with his head.”
Yes, you read that right. An octogenarian just head-butted a camera, apparently on purpose, as his retort to an annoying lobbyist. We’ll give him this, it was certainly creative.
Watch Republican Congressman @repdonyoung (R-AK) headbutt the camera when we asked him if it’s okay to ask foreign governments to interfere in our elections.
And no, he never answered the question. pic.twitter.com/FWgmkdzycG
— MoveOn (@MoveOn) October 31, 2019
The weirdness started when an unidentified man from MoveOn began following Rep. Young through the hallways, asking over and over about alleged foreign interference.
“Is it okay for the president to pressure foreign governments to interfere in our elections?” the progressive activist asked, obviously trying to bait the Republican on the unproven claims which Democrats are currently using as the basis for impeachment against President Trump.
He repeated variations of that same question several times as Young made his way to an elevator, while one of the congressman’s staff members tried to tell the liberal that he’d have to direct his queries to the representative’s press secretary.
“It’s a simple yes or no question,” the MoveOn questioner pressed.
That’s when Rep. Young calmly turned toward the camera, walked forward, and … well, pressed his forehead into the lens.
“There ya go,” the Alaska lawmaker said gruffly before continuing into the elevator.
“Just asking the same question over and over is not going to get you guys anywhere,” chimed in the staff member.
There are few things to note about this offbeat exchange. First, we must give credit where due: While the MoveOn questioner was no doubt exasperating the lawmaker and his staff with endless repeat questions, the progressive didn’t appear to be aggressive or doing anything wrong.
It isn’t uncommon for members of Congress to face barrages of questions as they go about their business, and indeed, as representatives who work for the American people, facing activists and the press is part of the job.
Similarly, neither the congressman nor his staff seemed particularly agitated by the liberal questioner, and even though headbutting the camera is a pretty odd way to deal with the situation, there’s a good chance Rep. Young thought it would be humorous more than anything.
The problem is, he created a news story where one didn’t need to exist. Had he simply ignored the questions or answered them briefly and stepped into the elevator, there would have been nothing for MoveOn to show.
Instead, the strange video now has thousands of views and has been covered by numerous media outlets — including this one. It just wasn’t a very shrewd move.
But with all that said, it doesn’t take much imagination to see why Young was so fed up with having one-sided questions lobbed at him. MoveOn was setting a trap for a soundbite, with no attempt at a real discussion about the Ukraine issue.
By setting up the question to claim that the president pressured a foreign government to “interfere in our elections” — a premise which is unproven at best and deeply dishonest at worst — the leftist group only added to the partisan divide.
There’s room for both sides of the political aisle to deal with the issue civilly, but repeating “gotcha” questions isn’t how to do it.
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