Actor Jeff Daniels painted supporters of President Donald Trump and a “wing” of the Republican Party as racists (KKK comparison included) on Monday during an appearance on far-left network MSNBC. He also warned that the re-election of President Trump would be “the end of democracy.”
Daniels, who is starring in Broadway’s current production of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” compared Trump’s rallies to a line from the play: “A mob is a place where people go to take a break from their conscience.”
“That’s what I see when I look at Donald Trump’s rallies, that’s when I see the lies he’s spewing at these people, and people going, ‘I gotta believe in something,’ and he said he’d bring my manufacturing job back and he didn’t … but at the end of the day, it’s race. It’s race,” the actor claimed, according to Deadline.
Daniels then broadened it to a “wing” of the Republican Party: “This is about the Republican Party — or a wing of it — going: ‘This is our last chance to save the party. And if we don’t, it’s the end of the Republican Party.’ And the only way they can do that was to tap the race button and say, ‘Go ahead, it’s OK.’ And [Trump] did,” he said. “And they did. That was the only card they had left to play, and they played it. And they aren’t going to go quietly.”
Earlier during the sit-down, the actor called his performances on Broadways a “wake-up call” for “white liberal America.”
“You walk out there and we pin the ears back of, basically, white America. White liberal America comes in, and they go, ‘We had no idea it was that tough.’ It’s a slap in the face; it’s a wake-up call,” he said.
Daniels then compared Trump supporters to KKK members and suggested that believing they have good intentions is dangerous and enabling. Deadline reports:
[Daniels] cites a moment in the play when the KKK is coming for Finch and his daughter Scout recognizes one as their neighbor and compares it to when Daniels asked his fellow Michiganders about the 2016 election results and they said, “Yeah, isn’t it great?” He then notes how Finch’s defending his neighbors by saying, “I know these people, they’re good people,” but “he’s an apologist, he’s an enabler,” Daniels said.
“And I think there are people in the Midwest, between the coasts, who don’t know anything about this, who don’t care about this, who don’t have any time for this, who have to make a decision now,” he continued. “You have to decide whether, like Atticus, you believe that there is still compassion, decency, civility, respect for others — ‘do unto others,’ remember that? — all that stuff you guys believe in, and you still voted not for Hillary or for Trump. Where are you now?”
Then came the warning we heard far too often leading up to the 2016 election about Trump: “If the big gamble is to go all the way to November 2020 … and lose, that’s the end of democracy.”