Kaufmann Family: Middle Fingers Good, Curse Words Bad

Image: Convention of States FB stream

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.”

Bobby Kaufmann responded to Vander Plaats by calling out his frequent donation requests.


By Keya Vakil

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2 Comments on "Kaufmann Family: Middle Fingers Good, Curse Words Bad"

  • I happened to be in the House gallery the day they were debating and voted on the sports gambling bill. At one point a GOP female representative was speaking on the floor during the debate and stating why she was going to vote against the bill. Seated not too far from her was Rep Kaufman making fun of her with facial gestures. He managed to drag several other GOP reps into his immature, childish, rude scene. No one stopped him. Leadership ignored it. As a retired teacher I wanted to speak from the gallery and say to him, “Jeff, your colleague deserves your attention and respect. “. Then I would promptly start rearranging the seating chart on the House floor. Even a first year teacher would have known how to solve the problem situation. I later heard that behavior is common. Time for a new seating chart. If we don’t accept a behavior from a child we certainly shouldn’t accept it from an adult.

  • Thank you, Shari Flatt. What an interesting and telling story.

    It was also interesting to note that Kaufmann proposed, days ago, a measure that would have required that at least 70% of the landowners on a carbon pipeline route be willing to accept the pipeline on their land before eminent domain could be used to force the other landowners to also accept the pipeline. That was a surprisingly reasonable proposal for Kaufmann. So naturally he completely reversed course within a couple of days and withdrew the proposal, probably with some pressuring “help” from Republican leadership. Your story is more typical of him. Though astoundingly rude, given that he was doing it to another Republican. I no longer expect any kind of reasonable respect toward Democratic colleagues.

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