Lee Zeldin Dodged A Sacha Baron Cohen Trick Interview

    Rep. Lee Zeldin was almost duped by Sacha Baron Cohen’s “What Is America?”, but evaded the fate that has befallen political figures from Sarah Palin to Roy Moore, the New York Post reported.

    Baron Cohen’s team reportedly attempted to use the same trickery that fooled Moore and Tea Partier Joe Walsh: Claiming that Zeldin was one of 70 people honored for their pro-Israel advocacy on Israel’s 70th anniversary.

    According to Zeldin’s communication director, Katie Vincentz, the key to avoiding Baron Cohen’s trick was fairly straightforward: Googling. She told the Post that Zeldin’s team noticed that Baron Cohen’s false TV station, Yerushalayim Television, had little online presence. She also said it was “suspicious” that the station’s producer had a distinctly American name, Julia Harris.

    “There was no mention anywhere of this big award, which was surprising especially in light of the big names they claimed to have interviewed,” Vincentz said of the staffers’ research.

    Zeldin is one of only two Jewish Republicans in the House. He’s come under fire for supporting not only President Trump but some of his more controversial advisors like Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka.

    Zeldin will be facing off against Jewish Democrat Perry Gershon for his House seat in November. While the Cook Political Report ranks Zeldin’s district as “Likely Republican”, it is listed as a “Competitive Race,” meaning that the Zeldin campaign’s Google prowess was probably beneficial.

    Juliana Kaplan is a news intern at The Forward. Email her at kaplan@forward.com or follow her on Twitter, @julianamkaplan

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