Longtime Hollywood Republican Clint Eastwood signaled that he might not support President Donald Trump’s re-election.
“The best thing we could do is just get Mike Bloomberg in there,” Eastwood told the Wall Street Journal in a wide-ranging interview published Friday.
Eastwood, a rare conservative voice in the film world who memorably spoke to an empty chair representing President Barak Obama at the 2012 GOP convention, offered praise for “certain things that Trump’s done” but urged the president to behave “in a more genteel way, without tweeting and calling people names. I would personally like for him to not bring himself to that level.”
He also expressed disappointment in the overall climate heading into the 2020 election. “The politics has gotten so ornery,” he said.
Elsewhere in the interview, Eastwood offered his opinion about the current culture in Hollywood. “The #MeToo generation has its points,” Eastwood said, praising women for “standing up against people who are trying to shake you down for sexual favors.” He noted that sexual harassment has been a mainstay of Hollywood since he got his start. “It was very prolific back in the 1940s and ’50s,” he said, adding, “and the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s…”
But while he did not defend disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein, now on trial in New York on multiple felony counts of sexual misbehavior, Eastwood did voice concerns that the rush of accusations might undercut the “presumption of innocence, not only in law, but in philosophy.”
Eastwood also defended his portrayal of the late Atlanta Journal-Constitution journalist Kathy Scruggs in his 2019 film “Richard Jewell,” saying that Warner Bros. should have responded to the paper’s threat of legal action by telling them “to go screw themselves.”
Eastwood said he used artistic license to alter details about Scruggs’ life — suggesting that she slept with an FBI agent to get information for a story — which the paper denounced as “entirely false and … extremely defamatory.” (Scruggs died in 2001.)
Eastwood said that whatever alterations he made to Scruggs’ personal history, he still blamed the paper’s “reckless reporting” on Jewell, a security guard who was suspected of planting a bomb that killed two people during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Though Jewell was exonerated, Eastwood accused the paper of being “ultimately responsible” for Jewell’s death in 2007. (Jewell died of heart failure following complications from diabetes.)
The director also welcomed the prospect of a lawsuit. “If you want to just go call more attention to the fact that you helped kill the guy, go ahead and do it — if you’re dumb enough to do that,” he told the Journal.