Dana Loesch: The Untold Truth

A mass shooting took place at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, putting the issue of gun control in the United States back on the national agenda. The students who survived the ordeal began a movement to change laws on firearms, but changes of this nature are routinely challenged by the National Rifle Association, fervent defenders of the Second Amendment. When the NRA agreed to send its official spokesperson to debate with the grieving students on a live CNN town hall special, most viewers probably tuned in expecting to see a elderly white guy fielding questions from angry kids, but what they got was a calm and collected performance from a mother of two named Dana Loesch.

Loesch once described herself as "the conservative alternative to old dudes," and the NRA bought into that image, bringing the outspoken political pundit on board as a special adviser on women's policy issues, then promoted her to Special Assistant to the Executive Vice President for Public Communication, essentially making her the new face of the organization. She probably wasn't expecting to become so well-known so quickly, but the Parkland tragedy thrust her directly into the national spotlight.

Let's take a closer look at Loesch's dramatic rise from small-time blogger to NRA problem-solver.

She was a lefty in college

You may have a hard time believing that Loesch used to lean to the left. The passionate firearm advocate has admitted that she was far more liberal during her college years. She was studying journalism at Webster University when she met the man who would become her husband, a Republican named Chris Loesch. Though still a teenager, Dana decided to drop out of school, get married, and start a family.

"I had my mid-life crisis when I was like 19, and honestly I felt like I needed to do something different," she told the Daily Beast. It was Chris, her "total Romeo," that began challenging her liberal values, though she didn't fully identify as a political conservative until 9/11 happened. "It kind of cemented me further," she said of the terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 2,977 people, "because the last thing that I gave up in terms of going towards becoming a conservative was where I stood on military and foreign policy."

She became a mommy blogger

Dana Loesch was willing to leave college behind for family life, but she wasn't ready to give up on journalism altogether. She decided to combine her passion for opinion with her new role as a stay-at-home-mother by sharing her experience homeschooling her two sons, Ewan and Liam, via a blog called Mamalogues. According to her official website, Loesch was ranked as one of the top 16 most powerful mothers online by Nielsen and one of the top 30 Under 30 by the St. Louis Business Journal.

Mamalogues was picked up as a column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but in 2008, the newspaper dropped Loesch in favor of a staffer named Aisha Sultan, according to the Riverfront Times. Loesch continued her blog until 2011, when she declared that her sons were now too old to have their private lives invaded. "My boys are getting older, I'm uncomfortable with documenting their lives as I used to and wish to give them a bit more privacy as they grow into their own," she wrote (via Heavy).

She said she'd pee on Taliban corpses

By the time Mamalogues came to an end, Loesch had gained a big enough following in her local area to make the jump to radio. The Dana Show: The Conservative Alternative began airing daily in St. Louis and went on to become syndicated nationally. The self-described "conservatarian" earned a reputation for saying controversial things on her right-leaning radio show and became a regular guest on Fox News, ABC and CNN

In 2012, she addressed the uproar surrounding U.S. soldiers who were caught urinating on dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. "Now we have a bunch of progressives that are talking smack about our military because there were marines caught urinating on corpses, Taliban corpses," she said. "Can someone explain to me if there's supposed to be a scandal that someone pees on the corpse of a Taliban fighter? Someone who, as part of an organization, murdered over 3,000 Americans?"

Loesch said she would have done the same thing. "I'd drop trou and do it too," she said. "That's me though. I want a million cool points for these guys. Is that harsh to say? Come on people, this is a war. What do people think this is?"

The rising star of the right

The content of Dana Loesch's radio show may have landed her in hot water with some sections of the media, but Loesch was making a name for herself on the other side of the divide and quickly became known as the new face of the right. 

"Everybody was telling me about this amazing person who just emerged out of nowhere, who had this amazing spirit and had the ability to write, who was almost the embodiment of everything that I want to happen with journalism," late media mogul Andrew Breitbart told the Riverfront Times. "I can't even begin to tell you how many fans she has in the higher media who say she needs to have her own TV show ... She's beautiful, she's smart, she's fearless. She's a pure rising star."

Breitbart became something of a mentor to Loesch until his death in 2012. "It's really bittersweet," she said after appearing on Piers Morgan Tonight soon after Breitbart's passing. "I was sitting there getting ready to do part of the panel in which he used to participate — they had me in the same square that he was in, which was kind of heavy there for a moment." 

Loesch opted to try new avenues after the right-wing provocateur passed, but she reportedly had to sue Breibart.com to allow her to walk away and work elsewhere.

Miss Tea Party USA

Loesch's first foray into the political arena came when she aligned herself with the Tea Party movement, born out of the anger sparked by the 2008 global financial crisis. She co-founded the St. Louis Tea Party coalition in 2009 and, once again, became the face of a cause often associated with the opposite gender. 

"Her connection with the Tea Party seems well-suited for both parties," reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who dubbed her "Miss Tea Party USA" in 2010. "Loesch offers a fresh face to a movement some would like to dismiss as just angry white men."

This opinion was echoed by Glenn Reynolds (writer of libertarian blog Instapundit), who witnessed her in action during the early days. "As soon as I saw her, I could tell she was going to be a star," he told the Daily Beast. "She just had the charisma that some people have. She was a great speaker, she was attractive, she was rock 'n' roll ... When the Tea Party movement was very new, it was mostly portrayed as scary, right-wing, angry white males, but she showed up to an event wearing a Public Enemy shirt. That's just brilliant."

After allegedly disagreeing with co-founder Bill Hennessey and others about which Republican candidate to back in Missouri's Second Congressional District, Loesch reportedly decided to part-ways with the organization, announcing her resignation on Twitter in late 2011.

She wanted her own sitcom

When Andrew Breitbart said that Loesch needed her own TV show, we're pretty sure a sitcom isn't what he had in mind. 

One of the most eyebrow-raising stories to surface about Dana Loesch since she became famous comes from NCIS: New Orleans producer Paul Guyot. "Dana Loesch came to me 10yrs ago pitching a sitcom starring herself," Guyot said in a tweet. "'A hot young mom who does far right radio show.' Said her age & looks would make 1 side hate her & 1 love her so everyone would watch. Was obsessed w the potential fame & money. I turned her down." 

Loesch did go on to front her own TV show in 2014, but The Blaze TV's Dana wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs. The host often used her platform to rail on what she called "the Godless left." The show came to an end in 2017, with Loesch telling the Washington Examiner that she was leaving the conservative network "on good terms."

She's a self-proclaimed 'Jesus freak'

If you ever needed proof of how dedicated Loesch is to Jesus, look no further than her forearm. The Missouri-native has "Ephesians 6:12-13" tattooed there, a reference to a Bible verse about putting on "the full armor of God" to "stand your ground" against evil. 

When she posted a snap of her ink to Instagram in 2017, many followers claimed the NRA leader had totally missed the point. "If you finish reading this passage, you will see that the armor of God is truth, righteousness, readiness to proclaim the Gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the Spirit which is the Word of God," one user wrote. "Your guns have no place in the Gospel of our Lord."

Upsetting her fellow Christians is nothing new for Loesch. She's spoken out against the hateful practices of the Westboro Baptist Church in the past and used to mock such people in her blog. She described her family members (via Heavy) as "non-denominational Jesus-freaks" rather than "fuzzy-headed carnival barkers who make a circus out of worship. Those kind of people scare the crap out of me, too," she said. "I left the church for awhile because I allowed other people to represent their distorted views of Christianity to me instead of discovering for myself."

She misquoted the founding fathers

Dana Loesch released Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America in 2014. The book (and its eye-catching cover) cemented her as the media's go-to commentator on right-wing issues, particularly the defense of the Second Amendment. 

The book received glowing reviews from all the usual suspects on the right, with American Rifleman claiming that it "unabashedly takes on the enemies of the Second Amendment and relentlessly assails them with something for which they have no defense — reality."

In the book (excerpted by The Blaze), Loesch discusses what it was like growing up in Missouri, where kids supposedly know not to play with guns. "We knew what firearms were and that you can't unpull a trigger; we were taught that lesson from the very first moment we could walk," she writes. "...The lesson about guns was so ingrained in our communities that people had them in gun racks in their pickups, without any fear that a child might grab one."

To support her position, Loesch uses quotes from the founding fathers, though she actually misquotes several of them. According to Media Matters, Loesch took the liberty of selectively omitting portions of quotes from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to further her argument. She quotes Washington as saying; "A free people ought to be armed," when the actual quote is, "A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined, to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite."

She's an 'anti-feminist'

According to Dana Loesch's profile on the Conservative Political Action Conference website, she is a leading voice in "anti-feminism." What's that mean? 

She'll tell you. "I think [feminism] has gotten a bad rap, I really do," she told the Daily Beast. "I think that there are other women who have given it a bad rap. I just don't believe in self-victimization as a tool, as a way to empower yourselves."

Loesch has had plenty of public spats with prominent feminists. She claims they discount women like her because she's not a liberal. "The culture is only non-conservative women deserve respect," she said in a tweet. "If 'inequality' was truly a concern for modern feminists, they'd defend, not shame, women for making choices antithetical 2 progressivism."

Did she incite violence in an NRA recruitment video?

Loesch made headlines in 2017 when she narrated an advertisement that many perceived as an attempt at inciting violence against the left. The video blames the media, Hollywood elites, and even the American school system for encouraging people to engage in violence against Donald Trump supporters. "The only way we stop this, the only we save our country and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth," Loesch says into the camera.

The video provoked an angry reaction. Black LIves Matter activist DeRay Mckesson called the ad "an open call to violence to protect white supremacy" on Twitter. TV personality Montel Williams tweeted, "This ad doesn't speak for me as a proud, responsible gun owner. I find it disgusting." Even some NRA members spoke out against the message Loesch was sending: "I'm an old white guy and a life member, but this BS is disgusting," Facebook user Eric Eugene Rush said (via The Washington Post).

Her CNN town hall debate stirred up a lot of controversy

The controversy over her commercial was nothing compared to the passionate debate Loesch engaged in when she talked with family members of the 17 people killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, survivors, and law enforcement at a CNN town hall event. She clashed with Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel on the legal details of gun ownership, but it was her conversation with the students themselves that made the biggest headlines.

When asked by survivor Emma Gonzalez if she supported the idea of making automatic and semi-automatic weapons harder to obtain, Loesch blamed a flawed background check system. "I don't believe that this insane monster should have ever been able to obtain a firearm, ever," she said. "I do not think that he should have gotten his hands on any kind of weapon, that's number one. This individual was nuts, and I, nor the millions of people that I represent ... none of us support people who are crazy — who are a danger to themselves, who are a danger to others—getting their hands on a firearm."

She says media 'love mass shootings'

The morning following the town hall standoff, Loesch gave a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference and revealed that she had feared for her life the night before. 

"You heard that town hall last night, they cheered the confiscation of firearms," she said (via Deadline). "And it was over 5K people. I had to have a security detail to get out. I wouldn't have been able to exit that if I did not have a private security detail. There were people rushing the stage and screaming 'Burn her!' And I came there to talk solutions." Cellphone footage taken by an attendee shows Loesch leaving to a chorus of jeers and boos. 

That issue was quickly eclipsed by another comment she made at the conference. Loesch made a point of criticizing media coverage of mass murders. "Now I'm going to say something that some people are going to say is controversial," she said. "So I'm going to say it really slowly so that the people on the platform in the back can hear it loud and clear ... Many in legacy media love mass shootings. You guys love it. Now I'm not saying that you love the tragedy. But I am saying that you love the ratings. Crying white mothers are ratings gold to you."

Does she have a split personality?

Many who watched the CNN town hall broadcast have pointed out that Loesch's claims that the NRA are in favor of stricter background checks for gun buyers are at odds with the organization's official position. According to a statement on an NRA website, the organization "opposes expanding firearm background check systems, because background checks don't stop criminals from getting firearms."

The Washington Post suggests Loesch was "dialing back the rage" and watering down her NRA rhetoric at the aforementioned town hall. This may seem like a natural move from a seasoned public speaker, but it isn't the first time she's been accused of presenting a radically different view on television. 

"On her radio show and her website, she's far, far right," author and journalist Eric Boehlert told the Daily Beast. "And then she does this TV shtick where she's just a thoughtful, slightly right conservative ... Dana seems to have developed a split personality for her career. She does not talk about urinating on dead people on TV, let's put it that way."