Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson says he would “either have knelt or raised my fist in solidarity” in the clash between President Trump and NFL players kneeing during the national anthem.
“I felt like our president’s responses were being dictated by the noise, and not the actual problem,” Johnson said in an interview with Rolling Stone, adding that the protests were “a cry for help.” He added: “I think when human beings are in jeopardy, and they ask for help, good-quality human beings, whether locally or at the highest level of office, they help.”
Last year, Johnson criticized the way Trump handled the protests by the professional athletes. Many NFL players, like former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick and Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane, decided not to stand during the national anthem, and in the following months, players kneeled and bowed their heads to protest police brutality and social injustice. Trump blasted the players as showing “total disrespect” for the American flag.
In the Rolling Stone interview, Johnson also takes a step back from talk about his own potential presidential run, which has been a hot topic since he jokingly announced his 2020 candidacy during his opening monologue on “Saturday Night Life” in July 2017. Since then, he’s said it’s a “real possibility.”
“I mean, look,” Johnson told Rolling Stone, “people are very excited, and it’s so flattering that they’re excited. I think it’s also a function of being very unsatisfied with our current president. But this is a skill set that requires years and years of experience. On a local level, on a state level and then on a national level. I have the utmost respect for our country and that position, and I’m not delusioned in any way to think, ‘Oh, absolutely, if Trump can do it, I can do it, and I’ll see you in 20-whatever, get ready.’ Not at all.”
“I think in a lot of people’s minds, what Trump has proved is that anybody can run for president,” Johnson added. “And in a lot of people’s minds, what he’s also proved is that not everybody should run for president. What I’m sensing now is that we have to pivot back to people who have a deep-rooted knowledge of American history and politics and experience in policy and how laws get made. I think that pivot has to happen.”
For now, Johnson says he’s taking “under-the-radar” meetings with “Republicans, Democrats, independents, mayors, strategists, you name it,” to just soak it in and listen and to learn “as much as I possibly can.”
“I entertain the thought, and thank you, I’m so flattered by it. But I feel like the best thing I can do now is, give me years,” he said. “Let me go to work and learn.”
Johnson, once again saying he didn’t vote for either Trump or Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election — in fact, he’s said he didn’t vote at all — also spoke about Trump’s behavior, saying that if a man on The Rock’s set mocked someone with a disability or bragged about grabbing a woman’s “p—-,” “you’re done. I don’t have friends like that, nor is it anywhere in our business.”
Read the full Rolling Stone profile here. Johnson will next star in “Rampage,” out April 13.