Press "Enter" to skip to content

Video: Tapio Says Trump Contributes to John Birch Society

“What do you think of a border wall?”

“Oh, I’m a big fan of a border wall, and I think Mexico should pay for it.”

Neal Tapio’s response to the first question he took at his Congressional launch event in Aberdeen last night is all you need to know. He’s a clueless rich guy who will mong fear and scapegoat foreigners to win an election. But he does tell us that Donald Trump is a Bircher.

Here’s the full fifteen minutes of Q&A that capped Tapio’s Trumpist karaoke act:

Tapio follows up his wall response not with an explanation of the merits of a border wall (which we know is a useless fraud) or an explanation of how restricting immigration will impact South Dakota agriculture (Tapio said not one word about farming or ranching last night) but with an unsolicited assertion that Donald Trump really is a “very strong conservative” and that Trump is “a lot different from the 140 characters that he tweets out every once in a while.”

In addition to saying Trump is not what Trump himself reveals himself to be with his continual childish online outburts, Tapio asserts (0:49) that Trump is “a very large contributor to the John Birch Society….” Birchers certainly prefer Trump to rational government, but in a December 2016 interview with the JBS in-house website, John Birch Society CEO Arthur R. Thompson resisted the suggestion of a direct connection between Trump and the radical anti-Communist conspiracy-theorizing group:

One way to look at this is the fact that most of the issues in the 2016 campaign were issues that our Society pioneered, some for decades when no other organization would touch them or even understand the problems they presented. We are not saying we had anything to do with Mr. Trump. What we can say is that in some cases we laid down the base of understanding on these issues — such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP — before anyone, and before most other organizations on issues such as illegal immigration.

One thing that we must point out is that Trump captured a movement. That movement was created by the members of The John Birch Society, directly or indirectly. It is true that some people and organizations adopted our causes and took credit for them, but they were started by the JBS [Arthur R. Thompson, interview with Christian GomezThe New American, 2016.12.26].

A brief survey of the news finds no direct mention of Trump money going to the Birchers. Tapio may thus have provided one good scoop in an otherwise lackluster performance.

Asked where the mosques are in South Dakota (1:30), Tapio reveals his ignorance of basic details about the major threat on which he is basing his campaign. He even says he’s been asked a similar question at an earlier event, which one would think would prompt a curious candidate to look that up. Instead, Tapio tries to mask his ignorance with his shibboleths—Wahabbism, Salafism—and says we should be more like France and close hundreds of mosques to keep our communities safe from Sharia law. But again, Tapio doesn’t know where or whether any mosques in South Dakota are inciting violence or advocating terrorism, which is the criterion France uses for shutting down places of worship.

A guy sporting a leather jacket and Al Novstrup’s haircut who was hanging out with Tapio and his roadies (including Shad Olson from Rapid City) before the show asked Tapio to give an example of how he would bring his business success to working in Congress (3:15). Tapio feigned humility (“I’m not very good at talking about my own self,” which turned out to be true), then talked about his Trumpian negotiating skills. He spoke of walking into negotiations by himself with an iPad, convincing his clients that he can do everything himself, and closing deals with big companies in a single sitting. He said he uses the Socratic Method, asking questions to get into his clients’ heads, getting people mad, and eventually getting their money.

Tapio also says politicians are controlled by fear. He evidently feels his voting base is the same, since that’s what he’s using to manipulate them.

At 7:25, Tapio gets the question that leads him to blame 190 Muslim doctors for exerting undue influence on Sioux Falls legislators. Tapio prefaces that blatant religious bigotry with the Stace Nelson line that lots of Republicans are really Democrats.

Acknowledging that Tapio is running for House, not Senate, an audience member still figures it’s worth asking Tapio about getting rid of the filibuster (11:10). Trump says get rid of it, so Tapio says get rid of it. But asked if he could persuade John Thune to abandon his support of the 60-vote threshold, Tapio says, “I’m not that good of a negotiator,” contradicting his self-praise just two questions ago. Hmm… so if Neal Tapio can’t negotiate with a senior member of his own party, how’s he going to get anything done with Democrats, who have a good chance of leaving a Congressman Tapio in the minority in 2019?

“The way to change people’s minds,” says Tapio, “is to vote new people in. I’m not just saying that for John Thune….” Gee, Neal, why didn’t we hear you say that last year when incumbents John Thune and Kristi Noem were on the ballot?

Tapio for Change—Tapio for Sutton?
Tapio for Change—Tapio for Sutton?

Referring to Pierre (~13:00), Tapio offered a more timely endorsement of a Democratic campaign theme: “Whenever you have power held in the same hands for too long, it becomes a little bit of a problem, and you almost have to have some sort of a disruptive technology in order to just see things more clearly.” Funny: Tapio sounded terrified of disruption before his speech last night. But hey—if Tapio weren’t such a vile Trumpist oaf, I’d look forward to his sporting a “Sutton for Governor” button.

Tapio directed attendees to sign and grab petitions from his Watertown flunky Al Koistenen, then noticed there was one more question in the back. Asked how much time he would take off from the Legislature for his campaign, Tapio offered this vague response:

Oh, I don’t anticipate a lot. Legislating is a very important factor. I got elected to represent the people of Watertown, and more importantly, I have a pretty heavy legislative agenda that I want to push through, and I’m going to need the help of a lot of people here is to be able to call and put pressure on your legislators to support some of the legislation that I have yet to introduce [Neal Tapio, response to question, Aberdeen, SD, question posed at 13:58].

Consider how much Tapio does wrong in this final answer.

  1. He fails to acknowledge that he skipped an entire day of our Legislature’s brief, fast-paced Session Tuesday to fly around the state announcing his campaign, when he could have spent all of the preceding four-day weekend break staging bigger events and missed none of Session.
  2. He says pushing his own agenda is more important that representing the people of his district.
  3. He says he has a heavy legislative agenda, but so far, with only three days left to introduce new bills, he has prime-sponsored only one bill in the Senate, a carbon copy of the bill Rep. Tim Goodwin introduced earlier to test all legislators for drugs.
  4. With supporters and media present, Tapio whiffs an opportunity to lay out his impending legislative proposals. He could have shown himself to be the problem solver his lowercase campaign slogan says he is and instead just tells people to be ready to show up and back some unknown passel of proposals floating about in his head.

This is what you get from Trumpists: no facts or evidence, no coherent party message, no policy details, and nothing specific to the immediate practical needs of the South Dakotans you seek to represent, just a pastiche of second-rate Art of the Deal flatitudes.

But Donald Trump gives money to the John Birch Society. That’s something.


  1. mike from iowa 2018-01-31 08:00

    He even says he’s been asked a similar question at an earlier event, which one would think would prompt a curious candidate to look that up.

    I disagree. I have a sneaky suspicion his audience doesn’t give a whit about the reality of what he is saying. They only hear what they want to hear and he provides the one liners.

  2. Jenny 2018-01-31 08:51

    I wouldn’t be surprised is this Tapio is a pot smoking closet homosexual. You know these far right extremists are usually hiding something. There is just something peculiar about this guy and now that I found out he’s not married.and grew up a preacher’s son. Hmm……..

  3. mike from iowa 2018-01-31 09:01

    Both houses of congress voted overwhelmingly for new sanctions against Russia, which Drumpf refused to sign. Then…..Last week, the Trump administration allowed Russian spy chief Sergey Naryshkin, who has been banned from entering the US since 2014 sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine, to enter our country. To make matters worse, Naryshkin reportedly met with Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats. So, let’s be clear…Trump refuses publicly to implement the sanctions ordered by Congress in 2017 for meddling in our 2016 elections; THEN, he allowed the head of Russian intelligence to illegally enter the US to meet with government intelligence officials.

    Which nation does Drumpf do his bidding for?

    (from el jefe @ Juanita Jeans)

  4. Donald Pay 2018-01-31 09:31

    “..Tapio is a pot smoking closet homosexual.”

    That’s just a rumor. He’s more of a crack smoking type.

  5. mike from iowa 2018-01-31 09:43

    Donald Pay wins the internets, today!! Sense of humor really shining through. I love this place.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-31 09:59

    As I said, Mike, a “curious candidate” would get the answer and not be caught with his informational pants down. Trumpist candidates know their base won’t say a word if they parade informationally naked down the street.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-31 10:05

    Now, let’s get some confirmation of Trump money going to the John Birch Society.

  8. mike from iowa 2018-01-31 11:09

    If he is married he is not bragging about it anywhere I can find.

  9. Jenny 2018-01-31 11:48

    I read it somewhere that he was not married. Maybe over at the War Toilet in the comments section? I just can’t remember.

  10. Darrell Reifenrath 2018-01-31 11:52

    I Keep asking but no one can explain to me how can a wall be built along that slightly more than half of the border that is the Rio Grande River?

  11. Loren 2018-01-31 12:02

    I think a new Cadillac in my garage is a good idea, too, but I am trying to figure out how to get one of YOU to pay for it! ;-)

  12. mike from iowa 2018-01-31 12:10

    Darrell @ 11:52- Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump insisted Thursday that he has remained consistent in his plans for a border wall, a day after his chief of staff, John Kelly, told Fox News he has “changed his attitude” on it.
    Trump was fuming after Kelly’s Fox News interview, a source familiar with the matter told CNN, adding that the President “hated” the comments.
    “The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it. Parts will be, of necessity, see through and it was never intended to be built in areas where there is natural protection such as mountains, wastelands or tough rivers or water,” the President tweeted.

    See Drumpf never intended the wall to be solid across the border like he said. Gotta be careful of them tough rivers and wealthy wingnut landowners who don’t want the wall.

    Hunt Bros Ranch in Texas messed up dumbass dubya’s wall by not allowing the government to imminently domain wealthy land. That is a feature poor folks aren’t born with, I guess.

  13. Robin Friday 2018-01-31 13:41

    Mountains, waste land and rivers are not impossible to cross. Even Trump knows this. Just obfuscation, as usual. They are in no way “natural protection”. People have been doing it since the Spanish came and the Native Americans crossed this continent from north to south, before any Europeans.

  14. Darrell Reifenrath 2018-01-31 19:06

    Mike – Build on the American side and we give Rio Grande to Mexico. Build on Mexican side they will not allow. Build in the middle of river unlikely. I have been there and Rio Grande sometimes has quite a bit of water but other times it is drawn down from irrigation and anyone can walk across it. Haven’t they looked at a map. Why doesn’t anyone ask the question to these proponents?

  15. jerry 2018-01-31 20:34

    trump does not contribute to anything. Even Stormy Daniels was paid off by someone else.

  16. Eldon 2018-06-22 00:55

    Wait a second… If Trump is “a very large contributor” to The John Birch Society, wouldn’t the JBS be swimming in cash and hiring new staff left and right? I have seen an interview where Roger Stone, one of his advisors, said Trump’s father was a JBS contributor back in the day, but I think Mr. Tapio may be getting into rhumors here. Trump seems to agree with the JBS on a number of issues more than previous presidents, but I don’t think it’s useful to try to stretch things too much. Reminds me of all these articles in various news outlets which were trying to say the Trump movement meant the JBS was taking over the GOP. And just before that they were saying it was either insignificant, dead, or dying. Glad that Mr. Tapio has at least heard of the JBS, though. Plus he has enough appreciation of JBS to refrain from repeating the various desparaging and false accusations that have been parroted over the years by all kinds of people out of ignorance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.