“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” savaged Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Wednesday with a little help from a popular “Hamilton” star.
In a song-and-dance number inspired by “The Music Man,” Bee depicted Kobach as a “racist” traveling con man ginning up anti-immigrant sentiment in small towns across America where none existed before.
The national spotlight on Kobach and his stance on illegal immigration has flared up since he became vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
“We are extremely blessed to live in America, where the First Amendment to our Constitution guarantees freedom of speech,” Kobach spokeswoman Samantha Poetter said in a statement Thursday about Bee’s performance.
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Bee skewered Kobach’s earlier work for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, drafting and defending local ordinances that prevented landlords from renting to undocumented immigrants or employers from hiring them. The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled FAIR an anti-immigrant extremist group.
Kobach’s work with FAIR was also detailed in a New York Times Magazine profile last month titled “The Man Behind Trump’s Voter Fraud Obsession.”
Most of the laws Kobach worked on with FAIR, the Times noted, were later ruled unconstitutional in court.
“Samantha Bee took a look at Trump’s voter suppression expert Kris Kobach on Wednesday, and it should surprise no one to discover that his past is a little icky, even before he joined the war on the Fifteenth Amendment,” wrote Slate.
“As Bee lays it out, Kobach may as well have spent his pre-Trump years offering drunks a dime for every quarter they can balance on its edge.”
Bee told the story of old coal town Hazelton, Penn., home “to one of the nuttiest anti-immigration laws ever passed,” where the town council in 2006 voted to fine landlords who rented to illegal immigrants, fine employers who hired illegal immigrants and designated English as the official language.
“English as the official language? That would mean they could only listen to the Justin Bieber parts of ‘Despocito,’” Bee joked.
The law landed the town in federal court and slapped with a more than $1 million fine.
“These laws are so dumb yet so popular in small towns,” Bee said. “All these ordinances had two things in common. Failure, and this guy.”
Flash to a photo of Kobach.
“FAIR’s busy little bigot bees went buzzing around the country pollinating small towns with their boilerplate anti-immigrant laws,” she said. “Then when those laws were inevitably challenged in court, the towns would hire a certain hotshot Harvard lawyer to defend them.
“Kobach tap-danced from town to town selling unsuspecting white people a law they didn’t need for a problem they didn’t have, then leaving their towns divided and broke. Kind of like ... a racist Music Man.”
Then Bee and a musical crew broke out into a parody of “Ya Got Trouble.” with Bee as a fast-talking Harold Hill convincing the town’s friendly denizens that immigrants are bad people.
“Well, you’re in a pickle, little town, immigrants I say, right here in Becky City,” Bee sang/spoke. “Why, they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re bringing tacos.
“Oh yeah, a taco truck on every corner. Next thing your kids are droppin’ words like gracias and pato. That means duck.
“There’s a right way to come here, from Europe, before World War II.
“But don’t worry, I have a solution. A cool new law, provided by me, for a modest fee, banning those illegals, permanently.”
“Hamilton” star Javier Munoz made a cameo as a local immigrant who didn’t realize his neighbors didn’t like him.
“The city welcomed me,” he sang, “(but) now there’s such hostility.”
Kobach announced in June that he is running for governor of Kansas next year and vowed to crack down on illegal immigration.