Rep. Bobby Kaufmann let his fingers do the talking Tuesday.
The 36-year-old Republican from Wilton flipped off those who dare to have different beliefs than him while attending a rally held by the Convention of States in the rotunda of the Iowa Capitol Building in Des Moines.
The group–which is funded by billionaire conservative Robert Mercer and an organization with ties to Charles Koch–has goals that could threaten the existence of Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare.
Kaufmann made the gesture as he finished speaking at the rally.
“When it comes to these gun-grabbing, freedom-hating, over-regulating, civil liberty-violating tyrants,” Kaufmann said, “Here’s my message…(holds up both middle fingers) thank you.”
Kaufmann clarified to Newsweek on Wednesday that his gesture was directed at the federal government.
“I stand for hundreds, thousands of people in the state of Iowa that feel that the current federal government is the government of open borders, rampant crime, and out-of-control inflation,” he said during a phone call.
Ironically, less than a week before Bobby Kaufmann’s middle finger message, his father, Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann, issued a press release deriding Senate candidate Abby Finkenauer’s “foul-mouthed” language.
While Jeff Kaufmann has yet to publicly comment on his son’s gesture, the junior Kaufmann’s behavior drew backlash from Matt Sinovic, the executive director of Progress Iowa.
“Yesterday, Rep. Bobby Kaufmann used his public platform to send an obscene message to anyone who disagrees with him,” Sinovic said in an emailed statement. “These kinds of obscene gestures do not reflect the values of Iowans. Not only is this terrible decorum, it’s un-Iowan to refuse a conversation and cast off those in our community you disagree with.”
Sinovic called on Kauffman to apologize and said that Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst should denounce his “obscenity.”
The younger Kaufmann also caught some flack from Iowa conservative leader Bob Vander Plaats.
“This is not leadership,” Vander Plaats said in a tweet. “And, it’s no way to win a debate.”
— Bob Vander Plaats (@bobvanderplaats) January 26, 2022
Bobby Kaufmann responded to Vander Plaats by calling out his frequent donation requests.
Very interesting coming from you Bob… I've never seen you send out an email or make a statement on public policy without asking for a donation. I suppose that is your definition of “leadership.” https://t.co/uPDvI7FW2b
— Rep. Bobby Kaufmann (@Rep_BobbyK) January 26, 2022
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