Jake Paul is a brazen 21-year-old YouTube star. Marco Rubio is a slimy 46-year-old U.S. Senator. Together, they’re like Frost/Nixon recast with Harry and Lloyd.
The two recently spoke in Paul’s most recent video entitled “It’s Time To End School Shootings.” The prolific YouTuber took a week off from his daily vlogs to speak with Parkland students, teachers and families about the impact of the shooting and how to prevent similar tragedies. Empathy isn’t Paul’s strong suit, but he seems earnest enough, halting his usual brainless antics to actually listen.
About halfway through the video Paul dons a blazer and Skypes Rubio, whose last public interaction with millennials was disaster, thanks to the passionate and articulate Parkland students calling Rubio out for accepting NRA contributions as onlookers cheered.
Lucky for him, Paul wasn’t as tough to deal with.
after getting humiliated by teens on national tv, marco rubio is attempting to regain his dignity by speaking to jake paul on such topics as “a lot of people think passing laws is super easy, can you explain, like, some of the struggles around…. uhhm passing laws" pic.twitter.com/WjG6MjKPDe
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) March 12, 2018
Thank goodness for Jake Paul—without him, we wouldn’t know that passing laws is, like, hard.
Jokes aside, Paul is simply an enabler here. He doesn’t ask once about gun restrictions or legislation during the two or so minutes Rubio appears on screen. Instead, Paul allows the senator to spout the only talking point Republican politicians had in the wake of Parkland—law enforcement’s failure.
The key, Rubio says, is identifying school shooters before they have a chance to do harm. That’s fine, but it ignores the millions of Americans, including those appearing in this same video who want something done about gun control. It’s the reason students walked out of classrooms across the country two days ago.
While Paul is adept at social media, he’s no gun policy expert. But he’s not merely ignorant—he’s almost certainly biased. Paul loves guns. He’s featured guns in his videos and even has an assault rifle tattooed on his leg. He probably wants gun control about as much as he wants YouTube to require him to solve calculus problems before uploading a video.
But failing to ask Rubio about gun legislation is a slap in the face, particularly when you consider that Paul’s audience is almost entirely kids. The video feels extra inauthentic without it, like Rubio and Paul agreed ahead of time how the conversation would go. The weak questioning allows the senator to skate by like the sniveling little shit he is, trying to win back points with an age demographic he doesn’t care about.
Rubio is a central figure in the American gun control debate, whether he likes it or not. He should be facing hard questions from informed and aggrieved constituents, not softballs from the internet’s biggest airhead.