She’s the breakout conservative pundit of the year.
Tomi Lahren is 22, blonde, conservative, and photogenic. Lahren is fast becoming the poster woman for American public political discourse—she’s a troll, in other words.
Her videos, which have gone viral, read like a point-by-point refutation of traditional conservative arguments (based on a, well, conservative reliance on reason and evidence). There’s an eerie body snatchers vibe in which that tradition is replaced by an appeal to the emotions underlying a certain type of social conservative distaste with more mainstream responses to the conflicts that have given American life a sense of stress and distress.
Lahren says she comes from a family of Marines and in a segment called “Final Thoughts” from her On Point series on the One American News Network, she takes on the shooting of four Marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but seems to go off the road immediately and definitively.
“Climate change didn’t kill them,” she breathlessly snaps. “Lack of a free community college didn’t kill them. The income gap, wage inequality. Nope, not those things either. Gay marriage? Nope. White racism? Not that either.”
Lahren is apparently claiming that President Obama believes climate change killed the Marines in Chattanooga. The evidence for that assertion seems slim.
That video, which has been viewed more than 3 million times so far since it was posted July 18 on YouTube, got her an appearance on the mainstream cable show Fox & Friends and write ups in the New York Daily News and the Daily Mail, three media outlets that are rarely burdened with accusations of intellectual elitism.
In a puzzling tweet, Lahren protests, “America, I don’t ‘hate’ anyone. I just love my country.” What the quotation marks are saying is unclear, though they are sometimes used to indicate skepticism.
On another On Point episode, Lahren and somebody allegedly named Tommy Sotomayor (who calls himself “Mr. Controversy”) “get real about race” and encourage their listeners to “lose the white guilt.” She even asks Sotomayor if films like Selma “exploit” racism.
As one colleague put it, her videos play like bingo cards, hitting on every objection her fanbase might have to modern life.
One America News Network is a two-year-old channel owned by the family-owned, San Diego-based cable company Herring Networks, and is currently available in 15 million homes.
Screengrab via On Point With Tomi Lahren/YouTube