The rodeo clown who received a lifetime ban from the Missouri State Fair for donning a mask of President Barack Obama earlier this month defended the stunt Monday, claiming it was never intended to be about race or politics.
“I didn’t think anything more of it than what we’ve done 15 years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago, when we’ve done it with Bush, Clinton and Ronald Reagan,” Tuffy Gessling told KCTV Monday. “I never did anything because of anybody’s race. I don’t care what color somebody is. If they’re blue, white, green, polka dotted, striped … it doesn’t bother me one bit.”
Gessling recieved national attention for a week after news of the stunt went viral. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) urged Obama to invite the rodeo clown to the White House for a beer summit, arguing that the flap was “not about race.” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) condemned the clown, and White House deputy press secretary John Earnest called the stunt “not one of the finer moments” for Missouri.
“I’ve had one lady spit in my face, called me a dirty name, spit in my face and walked off,” Gessling added, partly a reason why he decided to come forth and speak out about the incident. “I’ve had somebody threaten to run me over. One of them wanted to burn the house down.”
Asked if identified as a Democrat or Republican, Gessling replied, “I am a rodeo clown.”