KINGSBURY — The pro-Trump activist who said a staff member for U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik asked him to fill a town hall meeting with members of his group has since said he made up the story to persuade more people to attend.
Congresswoman Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, took more than 60 questions during a two-hour town hall event in Kingsbury on Friday. According to a report published in The Post-Star, she was asked multiple times if her strategic planning director, Alex deGrasse, reached out to Mike Kibling, the pro-Trump activist who threatened a reporter with a toy gun last week, asking if he would fill the meeting with members of his group, North Country Deplorables.
“Yes they did,” Stefanik said when asked if her staff reached out to groups “like” Kibling’s. “We promote this event publicly, make this event available to anybody. We call hundreds of people … and you’re going to see, I assume, in the questions that there is a variety and a diversity of ideological viewpoints. I took very tough questions in Johnstown and I anticipate tough questions from anti-Trump folks and Trump supporters.”
The question comes after Kibling posted on social media saying Mr. deGrasse had reached out to him asking his group to “secure all the seating inside the fire station so that the fake news reporters will only capture supporters clapping and cheering as she announces her accomplishments,” his post said.
Before Stefanik could answer a third question on the matter, Mr. Kibling reportedly stood up and said “I made up the post to generate people to come here.”
About a week ago at a pro-Trump rally in Glens Falls, Mr. Kibling pointed a fake semi-automatic weapon at a Post-Star reporter and said, “Here is my unloaded rifle, Post-Star. Thanks for the calls from the FBI and the BCI (state Bureau of Criminal Investigation),” the article said. After aiming the fake barrel directly at the reporter’s face, Kibling called the reporter by name through the megaphone and threatened the Glens Falls newspaper.
“Hang on, Post-Star, we’ve got one coming for you over there too,” Kibling said.
The Times asked Mr. deGrasse if he had asked the North Country Deplorables to secure all the seating at the town hall in Kingsbury. In response, Madison Anderson, Ms. Stefanik’s communications director, referenced the statements the Congressman has made already on the topic, in which she condemned any threats of violence.
“Aside from what I already sent to [The Times],” Anderson said, “and her public answers to every question she was asked about on this topic for the past three days, which were widely reported on, and we re-released those statements to the press, we have no further comment. All of those numerous statements and comments speak for themselves. She has talked about this extensively.”