Cohen convinced Republicans to help him make a commercial that promotes arming children as young as three
After flying under the radar for the past several years, Sacha Baron Cohen is back with a new Showtime series, What Is America? in which the British comedian does what he does best: tricking people into revealing their horrifying true thoughts and feelings with the help of an eccentric cast of characters (all played by Cohen, of course).
The seven-episode series — which premiered last night — was released along with a 10-minute teaser video of Cohen conning several prominent Republicans and pro-gun activists into supporting a new program that would train and arm children as young as three.
Cohen, elaborately disguised as an Israeli anti-terror expert named Erran Morad, discusses pro-gun strategies with a range of notable guns rights personalities, slowly getting them to agree that young children should be trained to shoot and kill, and finally having them read scripted lines for a commercial supporting Morad’s “Kinder Guardians” program.
Those duped by Cohen’s show include gun’s right activist Philip Van Cleave, gun lobbyist Larry Pratt, California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, and former Republican congressman Joe Walsh.
While Pratt helpfully aides Morad with filming a cringe-inducing gun training video for children, the other GOP members appear to helpfully read pro-child-gun statements off of cue cards, which quickly increase in ridiculousness.
“Maybe having many young people trained and understanding how to defend themselves and their school might actually make us safer here,” begins Rohrabacher.
“A 3-year-old cannot defend itself from an assault rifle by throwing a Hello Kitty pencil case at it,” says Wilson. “Our founding fathers did not put an age limit on the Second Amendment.”
“It’s something we should think about, America: about putting guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens — good guys — whether they be teachers, or whether they actually be talented children, or highly-trained pre-schoolers,” says Lott.
Then Pratt jumps the shark as he reads his lines.
“Toddlers are pure — uncorrupted by fake news or homosexuality,” he says. “They don’t worry if it’s politically correct to shoot a mentally deranged gunman. They’ll just do it. The science behind this program is proven. At age four, a child processes images 80 percent faster than an adult meaning that essentially, like owls, they can see in slow motion.”
Cohen has a history of good deeds and is also the grandson of a holocaust survivor. Much of his comedy career has been dedicated to revealing racism, discrimination, and injustice through his cast of over-the-top characters. Many of his gags involve seeing just how far he can go before his unknowing victims will point out the absurdity of what is going on or speak up for what’s right — if they do at all.
Some of those featured in the program have spoken out about what they said and why they said it — though many viewers are still astonished that such ridiculous and dangerous statements were made at all under any circumstances.
Wilson told The Post & Courier that, “Public officials of both parties, like everyone, can be the target of practical jokes — and that’s what you’ve seen in this instance.” He continued: “The request was to thank me for being a friend of Israel. I was targeted due to my strong support of Israel and my open door office policy — and what I told this group was that I’ve worked to strengthen our relationship with Israel and that I will continue to work with President Donald Trump to do so.”
Joe Walsh responded on Twitter on Sunday.
I was reading about what Israel does. This was after being flown out to DC to get a friend of Israel award, a 45 min made up interview about my support for Israel. Wedged in there was this sliver about kids and guns. And no, I don't believe we should train & arm kindergarteners.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) July 15, 2018
There was one Republican who was not duped: Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz seemed to be able to keep his head on his shoulders and reject an absolutely absurd idea when he heard it.
“You want me to say on television that I support 3- and 4-year-olds for firearms? Is that what you’re asking me?” asks Gaetz in the program. “Hmm, typically members of Congress don’t just hear a story about a program and indicate whether they support it or not.”
Maybe more members of the government should think before they speak — or even better, support sensible gun control laws that could help stop future gun violence.