To understand YouTube star Jake Paul, look no further than the video "Failed Icy Hot Bath Challenge," which has been viewed more than 19 million times. In the clip, Paul fills a bathtub with Icy Hot ointment, pulls on swim trunks, lowers himself into the vat of ooze, and screams. It turns out you are definitely not supposed to bathe in Icy Hot, and Paul says he wound up giving himself second-degree burns over huge swaths of his body. Paul's older brother Logan, also a popular YouTuber, infamously had to issue a public mea culpa after filming an actual suicide victim in Japan and laughing at the corpse.
So, naturally, Jake Paul just scored his first interview with a sitting politician.
Earlier today, the 21-year-old published an anti-school-shooting PSA to his YouTube channel, which would be completely unremarkable if not for the fact that the clip includes a Skype interview with Florida's junior U.S. senator, Marco Rubio. Both men appear to be talking at rather than to each other throughout the clip, and for a five full minutes, Paul holds a squinting, confused face that says, I am completely in over my head and just doing my best to hang on. It's the same sort of look that washes over a high-school quarterback's face when an English teacher forces him to read lines from Hamlet in front of the class.
The 22-minute video begins with him telling viewers he wants to do "something" to elevate the voices of Parkland victims. Next, we see Paul, who once recorded a song called "Jerika" to celebrate his marriage to a woman named Erika, interviewing the mother of a Parkland victim in her South Florida home. He then chats with a student who lived through the massacre.
But at the 6:30-minute mark, we're treated to a brief shot of Rubio's disastrous CNN town-hall performance. We then see a shot of Paul's laptop — wait, he's Skyping someone. Could it be...?
Rubio's face pops up onscreen. "Got you now," Rubio utters.
"I think a lot of people think passing laws is supereasy," Paul says. "Can you explain some of, like, the struggles around passing laws?"
Rubio babbles to Paul for a bit, and after the senator explains his post-Parkland legislative plans, the clip cuts back to Rubio's CNN performance. We watch Parkland survivor Cameron Kasky ask Rubio if he'll stop accepting National Rifle Association donations — and we see Rubio say no.
After three and a half minutes, Paul explains why he actually had Rubio on: to show that political activism is useless and that real "change" will come from students and parents on the ground.
"We don't want to wait for hundreds of people in Washington, D.C., to pass some laws," he says. "
So Rubio was a mark the entire time. He was there only to show that D.C. politicos are useless.
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Paul's point is, predictably, baffling: He says issues such as school safety and gun control — which are actually regulated by state and federal legislatures — won't be solved through politics.
And it's unclear what in hell Rubio thought he would gain here. Other politicians, such as U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, have connected with #youth by gabbing on
It's fair to ask if
We look forward to Senator Paul's inevitable run for the White House in 2040.