Meryl Streep on the Rise of Donald Trump: ‘What’s Wrong With Half of Everybody?’

“Florence Foster Jenkins” star tells TheWrap she’s bewildered by the presidential race’s “poisonous atmosphere”

Last Updated: August 6, 2016 @ 8:11 AM

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Meryl Streep, who recently appeared at the Democratic Convention in support of Hillary Clinton and stars in the new movie “Florence Foster Jenkins,” told TheWrap on Friday that her response to the rise of Donald Trump and the atmosphere of this year’s presidential election is bewilderment.

“I just keep thinking, ‘What’s wrong with half of everybody?'” she said, shaking her head. “What is wrong?”

But Streep also said that a recent graphic in The New York Times helped her understand how a tiny minority of the populace is responsible for the candidates running for president.

“They had a graph of how many people actually voted for Trump in the primaries,” she said. “And for Hillary. And it’s so small.

“If you look at the body politic as an actual human being, the head, the neck and the shoulders can’t vote — they’re children, or incarcerated, they aren’t allowed to vote. Then there’s the group that can but they don’t, and that’s all the way down to the groin. They just don’t vote. And then from about the thigh down are people who vote in the general election, but they don’t vote in the primaries. And then down at the feet, from the ankle down, is whose fault this is.”

She laughed. “It’s the feet. The left foot, frankly. It’s just one bad foot.”

In Streep’s new movie, directed by Stephen Frears, she plays Florence Foster Jenkins, a rich society woman in New York in the early 20th century who was convinced she was a great opera singer, despite an appalling lack of talent. Also starring Hugh Grant and “The Big Bang Theory” star Simon Helberg, the film is a lighthearted romp, which Streep said was necessary in these troubled times.

“It’s like a little antidote to the poisonous atmosphere,” she said.