Actor Kevin Costner is angry about America’s political landscape and says that our selfishness has transformed the country away from its former greatness.
“The political landscape is unrecognizable to me, and shame on us for being in that spot,” the actor told Variety. “That could change overnight, not because of a vote, but because people say, ‘I want to try to be more than about myself.’ That’s the definition of public service.”
Costner went on to say that the American experiment will always be great but that greatness will cease if politics continue down this path.
“This is the greatest experiment in humankind: America,” he said. “This great idea about America still exists, it’s still here. People still want to come here, but we’re not first in hardly anything that matters and we have an inflated idea about how we are. We exaggerate about what we are. We are everything that’s great and we are everything that’s human. And our humanness and our level of selfishness is overtaking our chance to be great.”
Costner did not mention President Trump by name, so it is unclear if he sees the Trump administration as a symptom of the political problem or a cause of it. He did, however, campaign for President Obama in 2008, a president who certainly made the political landscape ugly by using identity politics as a bully club. When asked about his 2020 pick, Costner did not say, though he admitted to liking the idea of Michelle Obama.
“Michelle’s incredibly bright and articulate and has possessed good judgment and experience as a result. Why couldn’t she be [president]?” Costner said. “If the former first lady did jump into the presidential ring. She’d have a level of interest from me.”
Though not in the Variety interview, Costner has been critical of the Trump administration. Last year, he blasted the administration for separating families at the southern border.
“You know, this is a hard thing to say, but I don’t — I’m not recognizing America right now,” Costner said on The View. “I don’t recognize its voice. I don’t recognize any individual statements. I feel people going with the flow, and there’s people right in the middle. And we’re in a really weird spot, and it takes a high level of compassion, empathy and intelligence to work our way out of this.”
“Separating people with no plan, when those children can’t even speak English,” he continued. “Can you imagine the terror? Besides just being separated? So we have to do better. We’ve been about more, we can be about more and right now we are acting really small.”
Costner’s politics throughout most of his career, however, have been more reasoned and level-headed than those of most of Hollywood. In the ’80s, he considered himself a friend of Ronald Reagan before switching parties in the early ’90s. He is also an avid supporter of America’s veterans and even performed for them at a Reagan Library event in 2013.
“We understand the sacrifice and probably will never completely understand, but we are with our soldiers,” Costner said at the time.