Bryan Zollinger serves as a representative in the Idaho State Legislature, serving District 33B in Idaho Falls. He is a native of Rexburg, Idaho and worked as an attorney prior to his legislative service. Zollinger joined Neal Larson on KID Newsradio to talk about his recent time in the spotlight after sharing a controversial Facebook post about the Charlottesville protest.
Listen to the full interview below:
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Representative Bryan Zollinger didn’t know just how far his Facebook post would go when he shared a controversial article Friday, August 18.
“I’m not saying I believe any of the conspiracy theories,” Representative Bryan Zollinger (R-Idaho Falls) told KID Newsradio. “But, I do think it’s important that people ask that question, why are the national media, the mainstream media, covering Donald Trump they way they are…the media is on a witch hunt…I think that’s a major point of that article.”
It didn’t take long before Zollinger’s post was picked up by Indivisible East ID on Twitter and went viral, even picked up by national outlets including the Washington Times and MSNBC.
— Indivisible East ID (@Indivisible_ID) August 20, 2017
But, Zollinger points out he’s not the first echo similar sentiments of questioning the aggression toward President Donald Trump within the national media.
“I wasn’t alone, Rush Limbaugh said those things, Representative Louie Gohmert in Texas was calling on Fox Business that he would like an investigation into those things because…it just doesn’t smell quite right,” Zollinger said.
Zollinger then came under fire after he said some people had agreed to contribute money for every negative post, comment or email surrounding the situation.
“Idaho Falls support and my constituents, both Democrat and Republican have just been awesome, sending texts, asking me how I’ve been holding up, some of them thanking me for sticking to it,” Zollinger said. “One of these supporters I was talking to had said, ‘you know, this is horrible, let’s turn it into a positive, what if I were to give you,’ and at the time they suggested…to my campaign a dollar per hate email or hate Tweet and we laughed and I said you’d be maxed out to $1,000 dollars by the hour,” Zollinger said.
The amount has since been reduced and Zollinger says several have agreed to match the donations, sending Zollinger back into the spotlight, this time, as many accused him of profiting off of hate speech.
“To me, that’s hilarious, I’m not making money off the Charlottesville protest, I’m making money off hate and I’m turning that hate into something positive, that’s the way I look at it,” Zollinger said.
If he were to do it again, Zollinger says he would still post the article, but maybe add some clarifying information so people could better know where he was coming from. Still, he remains positive about the future.
“Like my donor said, we’re turning hate into love and that’s my love for the people and this great state and I just want to make it greater,” Zollinger said.