Samantha Bee spent much of her opening segment this week going after accused Russian spy Maria Butina, but her real target was National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch.
While movies like Red Sparrow or TV shows like The Americans make it seem like it’s “hard to be a sexy Russian spy and convince Americans to compromise themselves,” Bee noted that Butina “has now proven that it is extremely easy.” And her primary tactic was going all-in on American gun culture.
“Who cares if Butina fancied herself a half-assed James Bond character?” the Full Frontal host asked. “The scary thing is that foreign interests are working with powerful conservative groups like the NRA and it just got even easier.” That’s because now, as she explained, the Trump administration has made it much easier to hide donations to those groups from the IRS.
“The new IRS rules specifically apply to nonprofits whose purpose is to promote ‘social welfare’ and any of these organizations can spend up to 49 percent of their money on political causes and don’t have to tell anyone where it came from,” Bee said. “This would be and is worrying with any organization, but the NRA has spent years making videos specifically designed to divide Americans, usually starring shiny-haired panic button Dana Loesch.”
After airing one of Loesch’s infamous pro-NRA videos, this one attacking both the media at large and specifically “late-night hosts who think their opinions are the only opinions that matter,” Bee decided to fight fire with fire.
“You know, I never thought I’d say this to another woman, but maybe calm down and smile more,” she joked. While “Dana and the NRA are so eager to call out the scourge of American liberalism,” she pointed out that they have been “completely silent” when it comes to Butina.
With that, she put on a leather blazer of her own and spoke to the NRA “in a way that they understand.”
“NRA, you go on your little screen with your scary shark eyes to tell people to make out with their guns or whatever,” Bee said, channeling Loesch. “You make a narrative out of false context and fear-monger your followers into thinking they’re in a civil war. You use words like ‘freedom,’ ‘liberty,’ ‘late-night hosts,’ ‘Hitler.’ You have no chill.”
“Then you’re caught associating yourself with one Russian agent and you just disappear?” she continued. “What gives? I dare you to make a comment. I challenge you to tell me how it’s American for the NRA to take money from foreign agents who want to see our democracy burn.”
Then, for good measure, she dared Loesch to get bangs. “You do want to be a star, right?” Bee asked. “You’re the NRA’s spokesperson, so start spoking.”