South Dakota GOP congressional candidate Neal Tapio was recorded saying that “one more terrorist attack” would help him win the primary thanks to the “Trump effect.” pic.twitter.com/B3dAK9ZT2S— HuffPost (@HuffPost) May 14, 2018
A lawmaker in South Dakota was caught on audio tape saying that all he needs to win a Congressional seat in the state is for another terrorist attack to occur.
The comments made by State Sen. Neal Tapio, a Republican who served as state director in South Dakota for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, highlight his dark strategy for taking advantage of what he considers an inevitable terrorist attack. Tapio is currently running for Congress but must first defeat two other Republican contenders in the June 5 primary.
Discussing his plans for winning that race, Tapio explained victory would assuredly be his after an attack because he’s the most Trump-like candidate.
“[A]ll that has to happen is that there will be one more terrorist attack between now and then, and I will be the, just by the Trump effect, I will be the candidate,” he said on the recording that was made last year. “That’s the way I look at it.”
Tapio also explained that he would never let his children serve in the military because they’d just “be mercenaries for Saudi Arabia” if they enlisted.
When reached for comment regarding the recording, Tapio responded by making a post to social media rather than speaking directly with reporters.
“First, I would like to thank the person who secretly recorded a private conversation with me and sent it to the press,” he wrote on Facebook shortly after reporters from KELO.com reached out to speak with him.
Tapio also released the full recording in his Facebook post.
Tapio, continuing in his response, ignored the allegations against him.
“Where the hell do you think this hateful and deadly ideology comes from?” he asked rhetorically. “Does it come simply by accident? Or from a few extremists who ‘misinterpret’ the true Islam?”
But when asked whether he believed a terrorist attack would help him win an election or not, Tapio implied it was appalling for the media to ask that question.
“To suggest I am advocating for a terror attack is a disgusting smear and you should be ashamed of yourself,” he wrote.
Clearly caught red-handed, Tapio isn’t taking the issue seriously. In the recording, he states that a terrorist attack will lead to his nomination, and his eventual general election victory, in South Dakota’s only Congressional seat.
It’s worth the media asking what he meant by those comments, especially when you listen to Tapio make them. He doesn’t sound concerned, but rather excited at the prospect of a terrorist attack, which would undoubtedly hurt American citizens, but also, in his mind, lead to his victory.
His attack on the press is unwarranted and reminiscent of Trump’s strategy to deal with bad news. But the media should not relent, and instead continue to press Tapio on the issue until all questions are satisfactorily answered.
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