Sacha Baron Cohen may look nearly unrecognizable in a sneak peek of his new Showtime series “This Is America,” but that hardly seems like an excuse for the Republican politicians who appear in a segment about arming preschoolers.
The network released a clip on Sunday, the same day the show will premiere, featuring a heavily disguised Baron Cohen getting current and former GOP lawmakers to film an ad supporting a program that calls for arming “gifted” children ages 4 through 12.
During the segment, Baron Cohen was in character as Col. Erran Morad, an Israeli anti-terror expert and self-proclaimed “Terrorist Terminator.” In response to mass shootings in America, Morad said he developed a program called “Kinder Guardians,” which trains U.S. toddlers in preschools to use firearms.
He went to Washington, D.C., to find congressional support for his (fictional) program, and managed to get several lawmakers and lobbyists to sit for the camera.
“Maybe having many young people trained and understand how to defend themselves and their school might actually make us safer here,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) says, appearing to read off a cue card.
“A 3-year-old cannot defend itself from an assault rifle by throwing a Hello Kitty pencil case at it,” Rep. Joe Walsh (R-S.C.) adds. “Our founding fathers did not put an age limit on the Second Amendment.”
Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and former Republican congressman Joe Walsh (Ill.) also appear in the ad endorsing the program.
“In less than a month, a first grader can become a first grenader,” Walsh says.
Sacha Baron Cohen
Sacha Baron Cohen
Presenter Sacha Baron Cohen arrives at the 88th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party ? Arrivals ? Beverly Hills, California, U.S., 04/03/2018 ? Actress Isla Fisher and her husband actor Sacha Baron Cohen. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Cast member Sacha Baron Cohen poses at the premiere of "Alice Through the Looking Glass" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, U.S., May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 04: Actor Sacha Baron Cohen (L) and actress Isla Fisher attend the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 26: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS, SPECIAL RATES APPLY) Actors Sacha Baron Cohen and Larry David attend the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/VF17/WireImage)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: Sacha Baron Cohen during the 6th AACTA Awards Presented by Foxtel at The Star on December 7, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images for AFI)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Actor Sacha Baron Cohen arrives at the screening Of David O. Russell's 'Past Forward' hosted by Prada at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel on November 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 15: (L-R) Actress Connie Britton; director David O. Russell, actor Sacha Baron Cohen, actress Kuoth Wiel and actress Allison Williams attend the premiere of 'Past Forward', a movie by David O. Russell presented by Prada on November 15, 2016 at Hauser Wirth Schimmel Gallery in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for PRADA)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 23: Actor Sacha Baron Cohen attends the premiere of Disney's 'Alice Through The Looking Glass' at the El Capitan Theatre on May 23, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Boardman/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 21: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Sacha Baron Cohen sighting on June 21, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ray Crowder/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Sacha Baron Cohen and Ryan Seacrest attend as the Friars Club Honors Martin Scorsese With Entertainment Icon Award at Cipriani Wall Street on September 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 23: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white) Actor Sacha Baron Cohen attends the premiere of Disney's 'Alice Through The Looking Glass' at the El Capitan Theatre on May 23, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Gabourey Sidibe and Sacha Baron Cohen attend AOL Build Speakers Series - Sacha Baron Cohen and Gabourey Sidibe, 'The Brother Grimsby' at AOL Studios In New York on March 9, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Gal Godot, Sacha Baron Cohen, Isla Fisher and Zach Galifianakis attend the after party for the Premiere Of 20th Century Fox's 'Keeping Up With The Joneses' at Fox Studios on October 8, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 07: Karla Martinez and Sacha BaronCohen on the set of Univision's 'Despierta America' to promote 'The Brothers Grimsby' at Univision Studios on March 7, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 12: (L-R) Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher attend day 13 of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at Wimbledon on July 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Sacha Baron Cohen arrives at the 84th Annual Academy Awards held at the Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 07: Alan Tacher, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ana Patricia Gamez and Francisca Lachapel are seen on the set of Univision's 'Despierta America' to promote 'The Brothers Grimsby' >> at Univision Studios on March 7, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 17: Actor Sacha Baron Cohen departs 'Late Show with David Letterman' at Ed Sullivan Theater on May 17, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage)
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But perhaps the most damning and ridiculous lines were given to gun lobbyist Larry Pratt, who recited them verbatim after expressing his staunch support for such an idea.
“Toddlers are pure ― uncorrupted by fake news or homosexuality,” Pratt 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 4, a child processes images 80 percent faster than an adult meaning that essentially, like owls, they can see in slow motion.”
Several prominent political and media figures, including Sarah Palin and Roy Moore, have come forward in recent days saying Baron Cohen duped them for his new show.
Walsh also responded to the clip in an interview with CNN on Saturday and on Twitter the next day. He said he does not believe America should train and arm 5-year-olds, and he detailed how he says he was tricked into endorsing the program.
Walsh says he was told he was getting an award from an Israeli TV station for his ongoing support.
“After they conducted an interview, they had me read off of a teleprompter talking about some of the innovative products that Israel invented,” Walsh told CNN. “Then they had me read about this 4-year-old child in Israel who, when a terrorist entered his classroom, somehow he grabbed the terrorist’s gun and held the terrorist at bay. And that was an example of how Israel trains and arms preschool kids on how to use firearms, and boy shouldn’t we do that in America?”
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.