A Republican state senator confronted an interfaith group praying at the South Dakota Capitol — and then complained when they called him a racist.
State Sen. Neal Tapio (R-Watertown) was unable to stay silent after seeing about 50 Muslims and others pray Wednesday in the Capitol rotunda for tolerance and religious acceptance, reported the Argus Leader.
Tapio, who served as President Donald Trump’s state campaign manager, warned in a press release that Muslims intended to impose religious sharia law that would put nonbelievers at risk of death.
“A simple check of their social media accounts will verify these people violently oppose President Trump and his efforts to keep America safe,” Tapio said in the statement.
The worshipers invited Tapio to join them for a group photo, and the newspaper reported that he stood awkwardly as cameras clicked.
The GOP lawmaker then turned his back to the group and began yelling.
“I don’t like being called a racist,” Tapio said, and then began a well-rehearsed anti-Muslim speech.
“If you don’t have the freedom to leave a religion, is there a freedom of religion?” Tapio said. “And that’s the question we have to ask ourselves as a state.”
Tapio continued the outburst with a small group of reporters.
“Interfaith dialogue is a part of a war, it’s a silent part, it’s a part of a way of taking away the Christian fabric of our nation,” Tapio told reporters. “Now some people are okay with that, that’s their prerogative, but there’s American patriots that want to fight.”