Longtime Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) is getting hammered by his Democratic opponent after he was tricked into participating in a satirical interview in which politicians supported arming young children to fight back during school shootings.
Rohrabacher made the comments on comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s new Showtime show, “Who is America,” excerpts of which were released over the weekend. The interviews with Rohrabacher and other politicians were an apparent ruse to convince the lawmakers to back arming pre-school aged children under the guise it was a popular strategy in Israel.
“Maybe having many young people trained and understanding how to defend themselves and their school might actually make us safer here,” Rohrabacher said in the interview.
A handful of other lawmakers went further to endorse the plan offered by Baron Cohen, who was pretending to be an Israeli soldier. The politicians thought they were giving an interview to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding.
Harley Rouda, Rohrabacher’s Democratic opponent, took aim at those comments in a new statement Tuesday.
"Arming children in response to an epidemic of gun violence sounds like a good idea to Dana Rohrabacher, which can only mean one thing: Dana Rohrabacher is completely out of good ideas,” he said.
"Dana can try to walk back his comments or call them fake news, but that's just a sad, cynical move.”
Rohrabacher has pushed back in a statement of his own, arguing he was only speaking “broadly” and never backed explicitly backed arming “toddlers.” He went on to pan the segment as a “sick fraud” meant to “deceive the American people for political purposes. “
All of this is coming as Rohrabacher faces a perilous path to reelection—a new Monmouth University poll found his race with Rouda within the margin of error.
Watch Rohrabacher’s comments here.