A right-wing American politician has bizarrely accused Australia of ‘running internment camps’ after being asked about the US Capitol attack.
Republican Kari Lake, who is backed by former US president Donald Trump, sat down with veteran Australian 60 Minutes reporter Liam Bartlett for an interview over Zoom as part of a segment about the American political system.
But the 25-minute exchange quickly descended into chaos, with Ms Lake, who is running for governor of Arizona, walking out and calling him an ‘insane person’.
Ms Lake began making her absurd claims about Australia when Bartlett began grilling her about the 2020 presidential election and riot at the US Capitol.
Republican Kari Lake, who is backed by former US president Donald Trump, (pictured together) has labelled an Australian journalist ‘completely insane’ in a fiery post-interview clash
Video of the explosive argument, which was leaked online, shows Lake slamming Australia for its mask mandates and claiming the country revoked its democratic rights by ‘melting down their guns’.
The footage was filmed by Ms Lake’s husband Jeff Halperin as a condition of the interview and quickly began circulating on right-wing websites.
The conversation started off smoothly before Ms Lake turned tense when Bartlett called into question the politician’s debunked accusations the 2020 presidential election was rigged.
‘On a broad scope, right across the US, you’ve had election officials, you’ve had court officials, you’ve had judges look at this,’ Bartlett said, countering her claims.
Ms Lake insisted: ‘They’ve not looked at the evidence, they’ve not looked at the evidence.’
‘There’s been no evidence, no evidence has been presented in a single court of law in your country that has proved there’s election fraud. I mean, if that is true, if it was stolen, as you say, why is there no evidence, a year down the track,’ Bartlett said.
Ms Lake said: ‘It’s really rich to have somebody from Australia coming here trying to tell us how our elections were run.
‘You haven’t done your homework either.’
Ms Lake repeated claims that American voting officials were ‘corrupt’ before telling Bartlett it was ‘really rich’ for an Australian to ‘tell us how our election was run’.
‘It’s so typical of the media to push this propaganda, “The Big Lie”, “The Big Lie” is what the media has been pushing for many, many years,’ she said.
Lake spoke to Bartlett over Zoom (pictured) for a 60 Minutes investigation into the US Political system
Bartlett replied: ‘It’s the media’s fault, so the media are corrupt, the election officials are corrupt, the courts are all corrupt, everybody’s corrupt?’
Ms Lake, who also claimed Trump’s face should be added to Mount Rushmore, then accused Bartlett of ‘not doing his research’, with the journalist reiterating no hard evidence has been presented backing her claims.
She then claimed ‘Australians don’t even have any freedom’.
‘What I don’t like is that people are being held in prison without being charged, that’s un-American, maybe they get away with that stuff in Australia,’ she said.
‘Perhaps in Australia because you’ve given your rights away, you melted down all of your guns and you guys have no freedom, but you find that okay.
‘But here in America we do things differently, we have something called the US Constitution and we have rights.’
Ms Lake was referring to conservative former prime minister John Howard’s sweeping bans of automatic and semi-automatic guns after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre where 35 people were killed and 23 wounded.
Australia’s worst mass shooting resulted in a massive gun amnesty where firearm owners handed in their newly illegal weapons for disposal.
The American politician continued her tirade, claiming Australia would be better off with more guns, not fewer.
‘I feel so sorry for the people in Australia, (who) have no power, the only thing keeping us from being Australia right now or Canada is our Second Amendment, and we will never ever let that go.
Liam Bartlett (pictured) accused Lake of walking out when the ‘going gets tough’ after she abruptly ended the interview amid his tough questioning
‘What we saw happening in Australia, internment camps, and people are being forced — if they’ve encountered anybody with Covid — to be locked into a quarantine camp is the most horrifying thing I think I’ve ever seen a government do.’
Bartlett continued to ask Ms Lake about her thoughts on the Capitol riots on January 6, 2021, frustrating the American who claimed ‘you keep asking the same questions and I’ve already given you my answer’.
She then stood up and began shutting down the interview, removing her microphone and thanking Bartlett for his time.
But after the journalist accused Ms Lake of walking out when ‘the going gets tough’, the bickering only intensified, with the politician claiming she had already given the news program the ’15 minutes promised’.
‘You promised us 30 minutes actually yesterday,’ Bartlett said.
Ms Lake replied: ‘Well I never promised 30 minutes, I told my staff, 15.’
Bartlett countered that he did not believe that was true, with Lake saying: ‘I’m sorry you asked the same question three times and wasted your time’.
Lake fired back by slamming Bartlett and claiming he would be someone who ‘makes his children wear masks’
Lake then accused Bartlett of being biased and trying to tell her how she should see the world, which is not his ‘job’.
Bartlett responded by asking if this is the way ‘Trump people’ do things, ‘having one narrative and that’s it, you can’t think out of the box’.
‘Sir I believe you have that narrative,’ Ms Lake said.
‘I don’t I don’t live in Australia, are you actually a respectable journalist there or are you kind of considered a joke?’
Bartlett replied: ‘Incredible. Incredible. That’s the Donald Trump way, it’s fake news, all of a sudden it’s fake news, if you have a different narrative it’s fake news.’
The arguing continued for a few more moments, with Ms Lake accusing Bartlett of being one of those people who would ‘make his children wear masks’ before she stormed out of the room.
‘That guy is a complete nut, seriously, a complete insane person. Do people in Australia listen to him?’ she said, exiting the room.
‘That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced.’
Lake, who is running to become governor of Arizona, made her husband record the conversation as part of her conditions for partaking
The 60 Minutes project is understood to be highly critical of conservative US political figures.
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