In an interview with The Fix this week, Walsh said that he had been duped and that he was reading from a script about a supposed program (dubbed “Kinderguardians”) in Israel. The program was fictional, and he was one of several Republican figures tricked into endorsing it. But he emphasized that he had not endorsed the program for American children:
WALSH: That was in the middle of about 45 minutes, an hour worth of talking, and this was 30 seconds. And to your question, it was specifically about a program that Israel does.
Q: And there was no indication that you were talking about something that was going to be imported to the United States?
WALSH: Oh, God no.
Turns out that’s not true. Cohen early Wednesday morning tweeted more footage of Walsh’s interview, in which Walsh explicitly and repeatedly backs bringing Kinderguardians to the United States.
“I endorse the Kinderguardians program for all schools in America,” Walsh says in the video. “When armed guards and armed teachers have, God forbid, been taken out, why should children be left with absolutely no means of defending themselves?”
He continued: “Never has an American generation been more equipped with the necessary hand-eye coordination to shoot. If a child can pull the trigger of a video game controller or a Nerf gun, he can pull the trigger of an Uzi. It’s obvious.”
The additional footage shows Walsh going even further. He talks about arming toddlers, which is generally understood to be children who can walk and are between the ages of 1 and 3.
“Toddlers do not understand the consequences of their actions, meaning that, again, saving vital time, they will kill without hesitation, then kill again until all the bad guys are gone,” Walsh said. “You know what? It’s pretty straightforward. When it comes to the safety of our children, the way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good child with a gun. Happy shooting, kids.”
Walsh’s campaign said Wednesday morning that it would welcome another chance to talk to Cohen.
“If Sacha Baron Cohen, who has actually never met Congressman Walsh, thinks the way the Congressman is representing his record is inaccurate, then let’s get them together for an interview face to face,” Walsh spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said. “Cohen can bring a cameraman, and we’ll be delighted to meet him in whatever character or costume he chooses to don that day. Cohen can pick the time and place. We will await his call.”
Walsh said this week that he was invited to the taping under the guise of being given a made-up award for his support for Israel. He said he was reading from an extensive script on a teleprompter that contained a brief section on the topic, and he said he was tired and didn’t recognize what he was endorsing. Other Republicans and a gun-rights activists were also shown apparently endorsing the program.
“Yes, Sacha Baron Cohen got me,” Walsh said earlier this week. “Good on him. But no, Joe Walsh does not believe 5- or 6-year olds should be armed and trained.”
Walsh is waging a steep uphill battle against Trump. Since announcing his campaign Sunday, he has been forced to explain a plethora of controversial tweets, including ones that he has acknowledged were racist. Despite his past sentiments, he has received some high-profile support from the “Never Trump” community, including from Bill Kristol and George Conway.
When he showed up to shoot his announcement video on Friday in suburban Washington, he found himself at the same studio where Cohen, in Walsh’s words, “got” him.