Ex-GOP lawmaker: ‘I got duped’ by Sacha Baron Cohen


Radio host and former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh (Ill.) on Saturday spoke about his experience being among the conservatives apparently tricked by comedian and “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen for his new “Who is America?” series.

Walsh said this week that he was invited to receive an award for his pro-Israel views in Washington, D.C., and accepted, traveling to the nation’s capital, where he sat down with a documentary crew who asked him to endorse various Israeli innovations on camera for a segment airing this year.

Among those proposals, Walsh says, was a fake Israeli defense program that supposedly trained children as young as preschoolers to wield handguns and disarm terrorists.

Walsh told CNN’s Michael Smerconish on Saturday that he read off a teleprompter about a 4-year-old Israeli child 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?” Walsh added.

Reading the words, Walsh says he realized what he was saying was “kind of crazy,” but he added that he brushed it off due to Israel being “strong on defense.”

“Well, this is kind of crazy, but it is Israel and Israel is strong on defense,” Walsh recalled thinking at the time, he told Smerconish.

Walsh said he was put up in a hotel in D.C. and driven by limo to a studio in Virginia “all under the lie that I was getting an award from some Israeli TV station because I’m a great supporter of Israel.”

On Twitter, Walsh added that the interview brought up children defending themselves “out of the blue,” and that he was quickly rushed off set after questioning the production.

“I was rushed to the studio, production was a mess, I sat down and we started talking pro-Israel stuff, Israeli defense, and then out of left field the interviewer starts talking about how children should defend themselves against terrorist attacks,” Walsh tweeted, adding the hashtag #BoycottShowtime, referring to the network airing Cohen’s latest work.

“I stopped and questioned their direction,” Walsh added in other tweets. “And just like that producers rushed me out of the studio as an apparent fight broke out. Strangest interview of my life – don’t think they spoofed me very much – but I did get this award, thanks @showtime.”

Walsh told CNN that he was a fan of “Borat” and of Cohen, saying that he would likely “laugh at myself” when he sees the show premiering this weekend.

But he added that Cohen’s decision to disguise himself as a disabled veteran to trick former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) into a similar interview crossed the line.

“He’s a funny guy and what he did to me was funny and I’ll probably end up looking pretty stupid,” Walsh said. “But that’s OK, I’m a big boy. But you impersonate a disabled veteran? He did cross a line.”

Palin slammed Cohen’s use of the disguise after admitting to participating in the interview.

“Mock politicians and innocent public personalities all you want, if that lets you sleep at night, but HOW DARE YOU mock those who have fought and served our country,” Palin told The Daily Mail

Tags Borat Israel Joe Walsh Joe Walsh Michael Smerconish Sacha Baron Cohen Sarah Palin

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