Press Alert: Sen. Tapio offers written response to Interfaith coverage



verb (used without object)

1 to cry out or speak with a strong, loud, clear sound; shout: He always yells when he is angry.

2 to scream with pain, fright, etc.

In a news article last week, Dana Fergussen, political reporter for the Argus Leader, characterized my attendance at an Interfaith event at the capital as out of control. Specifically, she described my speaking style with the word “yelling.” This is a gross misrepresentation, and possibly even a libelous characterization of my attendance. Accompanying photos were chosen by Argus Leader staff to portray me as a raging madman. The result of this characterization has led to vitriolic national attention, as the Gannet news system picked up her story nationally.

The Argus story now is the foundational source document in the national left wing echo chamber that amplifies the idea I was wildly out of control.

I have been around the political bushes for over twenty years. I know how this works. it is nearly impossible to have an honest dialogue on difficult subjects.

Despite the name calling and vitriol, I am determined to have a conversation with the people of South Dakota using reason and common sense.

I began preparing to discuss Islamic terrorism in public over 3 years ago. Long before I ran for the Senate, I met with the major media outlets around the state to express my concerns with the subject and to alert them to the dangers of talking about this subject in public.

I have followed strict guidelines in order to protect myself from being misrepresented in public. I made the decision that all of my communications needed to be recorded and extremely sensitive discussions must be exchanged via prepared statements. I communicate via text with many journalists so as to have a written record of everything I say. I provide background to many journalists on everything I plan to do, and have done so over the course of several years. I warned many of them the subject matter is so volatile that once a political journalist fails to accurately tell the story, they might become part of the story. No journalist should be a part of the story this delicate and dangerous.

As to the events on Interfaith Day. There are no less than 5 people that video taped the event. These will come out at the right time.

To all of the other media in the state, I sincerely appreciate the accuracy of other reporters who covered the event. Their coverage was very fair. More importantly, it was accurate.

As an aside, it is my habit to offer as much detail about my positions as possible to the press. I do not, nor ever have avoided the press.

To the editors and the papers covering my stance on Islamic terrorism. You have the right to disagree with my views in your editorial pages. I respect that. It is important to accurately present my views on the news pages.

Islamic terrorism:

There is a concerted effort on the part of an international infiltration group of terrorists called the Muslim Brotherhood to push the preposterous idea that Islam has nothing to do with terror. These efforts must be crushed. To deny this  basic fact is complete foolishness. It is a slap in the face to all those people living under repressive regimes that implement a hateful and deadly belief system that kills you for leaving  Islam. More importantly, it is an insult to the American men and women in uniform, and their families, that offer their lives in defense of freedom around the world.

My position on Islamic terrorism comes from the following line of logic.

1. Fourteen Islamic countries, which practice the full implementation of Islamic Law, known as sharia law, kill you for leaving Islam.

2. Estimates based on Pew Research data, show up to 350 million people, who call themselves Muslim, believe you should be killed for leaving Islam.

3. Up to 50 Somali Muslims from Minnesota attempted to join ISIS, an organization founded on the full implementation of Islamic Law.

4. These Somali Muslims were not refugees. They were children of refugees.

5. The vetting system doesn’t vet people already here, therefore Betty Odencamp, the highly paid director of Lutheran Social Services, is wrong when she says refugees have been vetted, and therefore our communities are safe. Facts do not back her up.

6. There are over 20 known Islamic terror organizations who believe in the full implementation of Islamic Law. Just a short list includes: Al Queda, ISIS, Boko Horom, Al Shabab, Hamas, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban, IMM. They believe in the full implementation of Islamic Law.

7. The war on terror is a fight against Islamic terrorist organizations, as well as against and between people and countries that believe in the full implementation of Islamic Law.

8. The cost of this war has exceeded $6.5 trillion and has had a devastating effect on our service men and women and their families.

9. To deny Islam has something to do with terror is dangerous and ignorant. Any person or organization that denies this fact demonstrates their ignorance or has an agenda- an evil agenda to spread the ideology of hate and death around the world.

10. Our country has an obligation to keep out hate and the political ideology of death. President Trump has shown the courage to identify  the true source of global terror.

11. With such a large number of people and countries believing in a hateful and deadly political ideology, there are grave concerns about how to keep those people out of an open and free society. There is no way of knowing who believes in that deadly ideology, and who rejects it.

12. Our First Amendment to the Constitution, which protects our very freedom to believe or not to believe, is being challenged by a religion practiced by countries and people who believe you should be killed for leaving it.

13. The question for our generation. Does our Constitution offer protections and rights to a person who believes in the full implementation of Islamic Law, as practiced by 14 Islamic countries and up to 350 self-described Muslims, who believe in the deadly political ideology that believes you should be killed for leaving Islam?

14. To simply raise these points, and to ask these questions, I have been labeled a racist, extremist, xenophobe, and Islamophobe by members of the Interfaith coalition.

There are many Muslims that reject this hatred and deadly ideology. They are too scared for their lives to say it.

America is an ideal subscribing to the COMPLETE and TOTAL freedom of an individual. If you don’t have the freedom to leave a religion, you don’t have the freedom of religion.

I have a challenge to all members of the media who believe in searching for the truth.

Ask the following questions.

At the Interfaith event, an Imam said there was “no compulsion in religion.”

Why do so many Islamic countries, so many Islamic terrorist organizations, and so many people who call themselves Muslim, believe you should be killed for leaving Islam?

What is the foundation of that hatred and death?

Do they condemn any country that subscribes to that deadly ideology and do they think America should keep every person who believes in that deadly belief system out of our country, our state and our communities?

Am I an Islamophobe for asking those questions?

If so, where is the love in Interfaith dialogue?


Ask the following people, who were at the Interfaith event, whether I was “yelling,” or actually respectful.

Senator Stan Adelstein

Bishop Zellmer

Betty Odencamp

Other journalists covering the event

Finally, one last question. Ask Stan Adelstein if he has told anyone, prior to, and including the day of the event, if he holds me in contempt, or worse, that I am a racist, Islamophobe and xenophobe.

Then ask him about our 30 minute conversation at the event. Ask him if I yelled, screamed or, or in any way came across as disrespectful in our 30 minute conversation in which he finished up by telling me, “maybe I was misinformed about your beliefs.”

Remember, there were a lot of people filming the event. His answers will be very telling, and the story of the day might turn out to be much different than reported.

One final thought to the press.

In a free country, the ability to speak the truth must always be protected, no matter how unpopular that speech might be.

It’s the reason patriotic Americans volunteer to fight!

Neal Tapio

District 5 State Senator

Watertown, SD

87 thoughts on “Press Alert: Sen. Tapio offers written response to Interfaith coverage”

  1. -How about, instead of a thousand word, 14-point diatribe, you just say: “Argus lied, here’s the video”.

    -Utilize a campaign theme like “morning in America”, “are you better off than you were 4 years ago?” How about: “We’re at risk, let’s find a solution”.

    -Saying the video will come at at the proper time says to the average voter you’re hiding it.

    -Compare your 14 points to the Million Man March in the 90’s. Farrakhan was a political force until he got up and droned on for 3 hours. Nobody remembers what he said or why, his movement ended that day.

    For someone who professes to have spent 20 years around politics, this is just incredibly amateurish.

    1. I read Tapio’s entire response above and found it informative and worthwhile. It raised my opinion of him.

      I thought the “yelling” accusation in the Argus sounded fishy when I first read it. Much of Ferguson’s article seemed agenda-driven and one-sided.

    1. Yes, keep up the good work of threatening a non-existent reporter with a libel suit. And, Tapio should research past court cases involving politicians suing the media. Good luck with that!

  2. Me thinks thou protests too much. Especially one who thinks they are called names and has vitriol spewed against him in the very same very long babble says anyone who doesn’t see something exactly as he see it is slapping faces and insulting our military.

    If one things one is wronged and desires to address it, address on its own. To conflate it with what I think are up to 6 different issues, most amateurish. And boorish. And disjointed. And confusing.

  3. “I am determined to have a conversation with the people of South Dakota using reason and common sense.”

    I have determined that conversation starts and ends with the reason you are labeled a racist is because you’re probably a racist. It’s just common sense afterall.

    1. Ike,

      This guy is just digging his hole deeper and deeper. Watertown deserves better than this. South Dakota deserves better than this.

    1. Neal is far from a one issue candidate, but this is the most important issue of our time. Islamic jihadism is spreading itself across the globe and represents an existential threat to our way of life. To deny this is to be at best ignorant and at worst complicit.

      1. 40,000 South Dakota children don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and you’re worried about non-existent terror attacks in Woonsocket?

          1. I’ve volunteered countless hours with my kids at Habitat for Humanity, Feeding Brookings, and The Harvest Table.

            How many terrorist attacks have you prevented?

            1. Three, and I can prove it just as easily as you can prove 40,000 SD kids don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

            2. It is a Red Herring to argue that we can’t work on both problems. If you don’t want to help protect our kids from Islamic indoctrination. let us work on it while you feed them.

              1. Uh-huh. So why is non-existent South Dakota Islamic Take-over the only thing you and Mr. Tapio ever talk about?

                  1. Non-Existent!! What’s wrong with Mitchell, anyway? You’ve got more kooks per acre than any town in South Dakota.

                  2. Er… I am helping where and when I can. It’d be swell if you could pitch in rather than bloviate about non-existent Muslim issues.

      2. Ag is the most important issue in South Dakota –

        Neal is using fear to gain attention attention and votes.

  4. Everything else aside, Ferguson should be working the Twitter account at Teen Beat, where she’d still be unqualified.

  5. Watertown will continue to be a second level South Dakota city until it welcomes a substantial immigrant community. The social, educational and economic advances made by Sioux Falls, Huron and Aberdeen have taken them to the “next level of excellence” that Watertown has sadly rejected by electing a half-educated, socially reprehensible, fundamentally extremist, backwater theocrat like Neal Tapio.

    1. I take issue with you calling us a second level South Dakota city. I moved to Watertown from Huron. And both towns are filled with hard working and creative people who love their cities and are making a positive impact on our state. That is frankly insulting

    2. Please keep in mind, that Tapio has not lived in Watertown for years. He established an address here a year ago just long enough to run for office. What an embarrassment he has been for our community. I certainly hope the people that voted for him are happy with their decision now.

      1. I keep hearing this claim from Watertown people, that Tapio doesn’t live there. Can anyone verify that one way or the other? If it is true, he should be removed from his Senate position immediately and sent home….wherever home is.

  6. His press release is much, much too long. I couldn’t get more than a quarter of the way through before losing interest. And when I read that he has video that will be disclosed “at the right time” I knew that he either doesn’t have the video or his isn’t going to release it. If the video vindicates you, the right time is now. I agree with the statements above that this is amateurish.

    1. The issue regards such length as it is complex. So if you can’t deal with it, then get out of the way so the rest of us can.

      1. Do not correlate length with complexity. Plenty of people can write much but say very little.

    1. For insight how how fake news and snopes deeive:

      Regarding the subject of “no-go-zones,” this is largely a question of semantics. If you say that there are some areas where even the police are afraid to go, where the country’s normal, secular laws barely apply, then it is indisputable that such areas now exist in several Western European countries. France is one of the hardest hit: it has a large population of Arab and African immigrants, including millions of Muslims.

  7. SNOPES is recognized by all political parties as the most valid investigative group in USA. The sites you quote from (Gatestone Institute and Independent Stream) have zero credibility, zero impartiality and are linked to Russia. Sorry, Sibson. You’ve been Leder-Hosed, again.

    1. My position is both political parties are the problem. Again, if you have to rely on somebody else to decide what is true and what is not, then who are you to question anybody’s credibility.

  8. Anonymous 9:07 a.m.: Fighting Islamic Jihadism “is the most important issue of our time. Islamic jihadism is spreading itself across the globe and represents an existential threat to our way of life. To deny this is to be at best ignorant and at worst complicit.”

    I wholly disagree with this statement and think you give them way too much credit.

    Trump in less than a year essentially obliterated the Caliphate and ISIS militarily. Our domestic law enforcement intelligence thwarts hundreds of attacks for everyone that occurs. Many former sponsors of Islamic terrorism have either ceased or are significantly financial hobbled.

    Our national debt, North Korea, Iran (which is more about regional hegemony. They just use jihadism as a ruse of their real motive), Russia, need for entitlement reform, inner city decay, culture of death (abortion), breakdown of American morals and family are all much bigger issues than these crazy killers. In fact, if I thought about it, I don’t think it would take me long to list a hundred issues more important than the agenda of these crackpots.

    1. All we had to do is remove bin Laden and terrorism was to be over too Troy. Crony capitalism care more about money than they do humanity. Humans are simply resources to make them money. If you have to partner with the Muslim Brotherhood, then so be it.

  9. Sibson-
    True. I need no one to tell me you’re a proven liar that posts invalid BS, mostly from terrorists that use fools for tools. — You Make This Stuff Up, Scheiss For Brains!!!

    1. At least I have enough credibility to use my own name. Anonymous people can lie and attack others with false allegations repeatedly and no would know they are “proven liars”.

      I have not seen your book review yet. For now check this out:

      •Snopes is now 50% owned by an ad agency (Proper Media) and they make money by generating millions of views on the 3rd-party advertisements on their website. It simply makes sense for them to seek out articles that are viral to “debunk”, so that they can piggy-back on that traffic and generate more advertising revenue.
      •Snopes was founded by a husband and wife team who are now in the middle of a contentious divorce in which founder David Mikkelsen has been accused of embezzling $98,000 of company money to spend on “himself and prostitutes”.
      •Snopes now has a hired team of suspect fact checkers who collaborate to debunk falsehoods that are trending on the internet.
      •These fact checkers reportedly have no editorial oversight and do not follow standard journalistic procedures such as interviewing the authors of articles they are trying to debunk to get all sides of the story.
      •Snopes doesn’t have a formal screening process for hiring fact checkers and for evaluating applicants for any potential conflicts of interest. Without such standards, it is very easy for them to be infiltrated by those who work with the industry and who have a hidden agenda.

      1. Steve,

        I agree that Snopes is a poor source for fact checking, but you’re citing “”

        1. I figured foodbabe would be an expert on GMO food 🙂

          At this point let me make this argument. Nobody is 100% right 100% of the time. And, nobody is 100% wrong 100% of the time. So can’t we increase the civility, and help each other learn? That way we all can be right more often than we are now.

          1. Help each other learn – learn and then agree with your dogmatic views? That is what you want.

    2. Like I said, do you own research:

      This is an old story that has just made it into the mainstream media.. Snopes has long been a source of half truths and investigation held up as ‘absolute fact’ by those who themselves don’t bother to do their own research into controversial topics and now it is finally becoming clear that it is far from being run by those with the utmost integrity.

    3. And what is really sad is you are not here to work on issues and hope for a solution. You are here to destroy those you don’t like.

  10. Do you believe FoxNews, Sibby my boy?
    “There are not No Go Zones … anywhere!!”
    – In January 2015, two Fox News hosts were forced to apologize for pushing the myth of so-called “no-go zones” in Europe, “places where non-Muslims don’t go” that are governed by Sharia law. Fox’s baseless “no-go zone” claims led to international embarrassment for the network.

  11. Sibson – It’s obvious you have little societal value. You do this Islam hate thing only as busy work. You see yourself as some sort of protector who realizes things common people don’t. That false impression gives your self esteem a form of honor and dignity which you otherwise lack. You really don’t do anything or create anything or help anyone, do you. This whole charade about Muslims and shadow brotherhoods is just about you, isn’t it? It’s the same with Hubbel and Volesky and Tapio and a few others with low productivity and even lower self worth. Good luck with your image building, Stevie. You really can do more than just imagining yourself a super hero and a “protective force” because you’re actually accomplishing nothing. Turn off the hate radio and build a shed or something real. You’re old but you still have time to accomplish something worthwhile.

    1. Thanks for proving my point that you are not here to do good, but to destroy those you hate.

    1. Agree or disagree. I appreciate that he took the time to put out his thoughts on his.

  12. Let’s be clear. Tapio couldn’t get elected to clean garbage cans if he ran again. He’s a nut job. He will never win another election. He’s embarrassed and badmouthed our community. The 15 minutes of fame clock has run – go away you sick clown

      1. Is this the same Lee that was banished from the Republican caucus, quit the legislature one day and a few days later changed his mind, and said his wife disapproved of this childishness?

  13. We all know what Schoenbeck says is true. In context, Tapio and Hubbel get quadruple the posts (out of pure SoDak Snark) than any other topic and the number of visitors that post on the blog are what determines the price Pat charges the faces on the sidebars. He posts nonsense to make more cents. And to quote the webmaster, “Yet, here you are.” Pretty funny stuff. 🙂

  14. I know he’ll never listen, but if by any chance he would,.. Mr. Tapio, would you please quit referring to yourself as the district 5 state senator. Clearly, you are not representing those of us in district 5 any longer, you’re just trying to steal headlines for your congressional race. Even better, please resign now and let someone who actually cares about, and lives in Watertown, represent us.

  15. Anon 6:48,

    While I often disagree with Steve, I find your comment wholly disconnected to the truth. Sibby is sincerely committed to what he says and I believe his motive is truly the common good. When we disagree, it is usually on the relative importance or reliability of his information or the connections he makes between disparate information. These are differences upon which people of goodwill can disagree.

    In the past, I thought he too often made generalizations about those who disagree with him that I didnt think appropriate. Steve is significantly more careful now and I think that is good. He has certainly showed you more decency than you have showed him.

    1. Troy, you can than Jesus Christ for my efforts to be more careful and more constructive. And I still need to improve.

  16. “He has certainly showed you more decency than you have showed him.”
    *shown. “… than you have shown him.”

  17. Can anyone in Watertown verify that he does or doesn’t live in Watertown? I don’t think only having a Watertown P.O. Box qualifies him to keep his seat and he should resign. Can our friend Lee Schoenbeck or another Watertown faithful clear this up once and for all?

    1. He lives in Rapid City. He rents a place on Lake kampeska and keeps a little stuff in it to claim residency. It’s an old scam for those that disrespect the state constitution and the idea that the people in our community deserve representation in Pierre. One and done

  18. Watertown is done with extremism and negativity. Consider Brett Ries. A common sense Conservative.

    1. Do you want people to consider Brett Ries, or a Common Sense Conservative? Which one? Because Brett Ries is a flaming liberal Democrat, and nothing resembling a conservative.

      “1. Pregnancy can be an unhealthy process, which is why most people support pregnancy terminations.
      2. See above^, it can save a life.”

      Watertown needs a real leader. Not a SJW pretending to be one.

      1. Thanks for link. Read his words. Pro abortion and a bernie sanders supporter. Interesting use of “conservative “. Words are supposed to mean something

  19. Women’s Rights are certainly an issue, especially today with massive marches across America. However women’s rights aren’t an issue for Pierre. Watertown and South Dakota need someone who won’t petition the Supreme Court demanding we pay high taxes on retail catalog sales. Let Amazon build a couple fulfillment centers here, first.

    1. I am not sure what ‘women’s rights’ are lacking. They have all the rights that men have, don’t they? Maybe the real issue is ‘abortion rights’.

      1. No Pope and No Priest and No Pierre Political Hanyaker can overrule a woman’s right to determine what’s best for her personal health.

  20. Senator Schoenbeck … Women’s Rights are just a “busy work” issue in Pierre, anymore. The debate is continually brought forward by legislators who have no new ideas or any problem solving skills to help make our lives better. Senators like Tapio and yourself rode that camel and portrayed yourself as the “savior of the souls” when nothing more needed to be accomplished. South Dakota has plenty of abortion regulations. Especially for an issue (like immigration) that’s wholly controlled by Washington. If Roe v Wade is overruled Trump won’t ask us what to do. He’ll just do it.
    Words have deep meaning, sir. Everyone in South Dakota is a fiscal conservative. Republicans and Democrats, alike!! That’s an issue we can help improve all voter’s lives with. Not wasting legislative time on things (women’s rights and gun rights) that have been decided for decades.

    1. Very few legislators in Pierre are fiscal conservatives. Sales tax increase and the road tax increases are liberal tax and spend policies that both party establishes voted for. Only a few true conservatives had the courage3 to say, there is already enough money to fix the roads and pay the teachers.

  21. Steve,

    All the good we do is from Him and it is good we express our gratitude. 🙂

    I disagree there are very few fiscal conservatives. I just think we have insufficient focus on the matters at hand which gets us in pickles better focus would have prevented. Cutting, reforming, and reprioritizing something as big as government is hard work. We need Appropriators given greater authority to do their job and less second guessing from legislators not doing the work. To do this, they probably should be meeting/working prior to session (at least as early as the Budget Address).

  22. Anon 3:09 p.m.,

    There are intellectually weak arguments and then there are arguments without intellect. Yours is always my favorite of the latter because it is so intellectually vapid.

    If such a matter was as absolute as you claim, there can be no laws against drug usage or any reason (recreational or medical), medical treatment regulations (just need a willing patient and willing doctor), sale and purchase of human organs (just need a willing seller and buyer). Also there can be no proportionality limits on response to assault (e.g. you hit me, I can kill you). And, finally, it creates intellecual justification for assault, murder, and rape.

    So, is that really your best intellectual argument for abortion? Really?

  23. The pre-life cellar entity in a womb wouldn’t even exist without the woman’s body and woman’s decisions that are keeping it viable and growing.
    You’re asserting that what a woman wants only matters until she’s pregnant and then what men want is more important because men rule the world? That’s not being a man. That’s closer to being a pig. Any decisions involving a woman’s body are at the sole discretion of that female.

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