Conservative radio host Glenn Beck on Wednesday said that a rodeo clown was a "brave artist" after he had been criticized for turning the Missouri State Fair into a "Klan rally" by putting on a mask of President Barack Obama.

Earlier this week, fairgoers said that a rodeo clown had put on the mask and another clown "ran up and started bobbling the lips on the mask and the people went crazy."

Officials with the Missouri State Fair later took action to "permanently ban this rodeo clown," and the rodeo announcer responsible for whipping up the crowd into a frenzy announced his resignation.

But Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other conservative radio hosts claimed liberals were waging a war against free speech rights.

"It shows how afraid this administration is," Beck said on Wednesday. "They are afraid, literally, of a rodeo clown. They can't afford to have anybody critical of the president."

"You know, people burn books and we had the McCarthy era where you were silenced because you were a communist," he continued. "I got news for you, you may not see rodeo clowns as art or entertainment, but it is. This is an artist, a very brave artist, believe it or not, rodeo clowns. They could get mauled by a bull at any time."

"Just like I don't see the big blue paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I don't see that as like art, a lot people do. I don't say, 'How dare you! Take that art out of here! That's not art!' No. This is art. Believe it or not."

Beck added: "Or you know what? If you wrote that down in a book, maybe we could burn the book."

Watch this video from The Blaze, broadcast Aug. 15, 2013.

(h/t: Right Wing Watch)