What to Know
- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, CA-48, was one of many GOP figureheads who was duped in Sacha Baron Cohen's new comedy, "Who Is America"
- A new trailer for Cohen's showtime series shows Rohrabacher, among others, seemingly supporting arming children with guns.
- Rohrabacher told NBC4 Monday that he never met Cohen and he thought he was being filmed for an Israeli documentary.
An Orange County congressman was under fire Monday for controversial comments made in a series from Sacha Baron Cohen called "Who is America?" in which the comedian pranks politicians by pitching the idea that toddlers should be armed with guns.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said as far as he knew he was being asked to weigh in on a documentary about the 70th anniversary of Israel, which happened in April. He said he never met Sacha Baron Cohen, but calls what the comedian did "a farce and a fraud."
The Republican congressman said the words he used in the Showtime program were as aggressive as he would ever get when it comes to guns and young people.
"People in their teens should be trained and be aware of what firearms are all about, not advocate they carry them or anything but it's a good thing to know about," he had said in the 10-minute spoof.
The TV spot shows gun rights activist Philip Van Cleave teaching toddlers how to use a pistol.
Rohrabacher is seen along with other Republicans who appear to support the idea of arming children.
Local, state and national politics
"People who do things like this are hard-core leftists who have their agenda - their agenda in this case is to make fun of anybody who has any support for adults owning guns," Rohrabacher told NBC4.
Rohrabacher says the interviewer told him teenagers in Israel are trained to use guns and this was his reply.
"Maybe having young people trained and understand how to defend themselves in school might make us safer here," Rohrabacher said in the spoof.
The former speechwriter to Ronald Regan claims he learned how to shoot a rifle as a teenager, but also says using any weapon to defend students at schools should be the job of a police officer or security guard.
"Their purpose is not to create laughter and make fun of somebody; their purpose is to achieve a political end," Rohrabacher said.
The congressman says he gets thousands of requests for interviews and truly thought this one was with an Israeli TV company. He says he was never asked about toddlers arming themselves.