Fox News pundit Tomi Lahren inadvertently called President Donald Trump an idiot in a viral video that she likely thought was intended to target Indian supporters of the president but was actually a clever wordplay prank.
“Trump 2020 is all about keeping America great, because president Trump is wise like an owl, or as you guys would say in Hindi ― which I hope I’m pronouncing this right ― President Trump is wise like an ullu,” Lahren said in the video, which was recorded via the app Cameo ― a service where celebrities can film personalized messages such as birthday wishes for a fee.
“Ullu” or “ulloo” literally means “owl” in Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu, but the word is also a colloquial way of calling someone an idiot, a fool or a jackass. For instance, in Hindi, the phrase “ullu ka pattha” ― literally “son of an owl” ― is used as an insult.
The man who paid for Lahren to record the message and requested that she call Trump “wise like an ullu” was Ali-Asghar Abedi, a comedy writer and contributor for multiple media outlets, including PBS, The New York Times and The Independent.
Abedi posted the clip to Twitter after Lahren sent it to him, and in an opinion piece for The Independent, explained that he had paid $85 to demonstrate that “American conservative intellectualism is on sale.”
“Lahren thought she was calling Trump wise, but ended up insulting the man whose presidency her entire career is based on,” Abedi wrote. “Maybe her brain was fried from taking the President’s advice about ingesting bleach. Or maybe she was easily duped because she’s lacking in intellectual curiosity and only offers arguments that a toddler would call reductive. Either way, waging $85 that she wouldn’t bother to research the meaning of ‘ulloo’ felt like a safe bet. Ultimately, Lahren got $85 (minus whatever commission Cameo takes) and India got to laugh as her clip ended up appearing across the country’s news networks.”
Abedi went on to explain that any pro-Trump pundit could have fallen for the same trick, listing names like Ben Shapiro and Jesse Watters. He admitted that the prank was “juvenile,” but argued that since “the Republican National Convention may be beyond satire, pranking the likes of Lahren may be one of the few ways we can derive comedy from this absurd event.”
Just as Abedi predicted, the clip went viral across Twitter and multiple Indian news websites ― including HuffPost India ― as voices chimed in on the absurdity of Lahren mistakingly insulting Trump, a man she once fawned over for groping an American flag.