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Robert Redford expressed empathy for President Obama and frustration with Beltway gridlock as the government shutdown reaches its 16th day.
“I don’t envy [Obama’s] position,” he said during an interview that aired on CNN’s New Day morning show on Wednesday. “I think he’s a good man. I think he’s an intelligent man, a compassionate man who can’t function in that environment.”
“It is so paralyzed, and the worst of it is that it’s paralyzed by intention. There’s a body of congressional people that want to paralyze the system. I think what’s unfortunately underneath it is racism involved, which is really awful,” he continued.
Redford then elaborated: “It’s not just racism. I think it’s a group of people that are so afraid of change and they’re so narrow-minded that when — you see, some people when they see change coming get so threatened by change they get angry and terrorized and they get vicious.”
The comments came as Redford is making the press rounds for his man vs. nature tale All Is Lost, which features the actor as a sailor stranded in the ocean and fighting for survival.
The actor has previously expressed frustration with the administration and partisan gridlock.
On the issue of partisanship on climate change he told The Hollywood Reporter last fall that the president’s opponents were “so narrow and so ideologically driven that it’s not likely you’re going to see much change there.” He added at the time: “The Beltway is a very complicated and troubled place.”
Critics have praised the actor for his performance in All Is Lost, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May and is set for wide release by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions on Friday.