Clint Eastwood Says Electing Michael Bloomberg Is "the Best Thing We Could Do"

Clint Eastwood arrives at the world premiere of J. Edgar - Getty-H 2019
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

The 'Mule' actor also said he wished President Donald Trump acted "in a more genteel way" and stopped "calling people names."

Seemingly undeterred by the withering reviews out of Michael Bloomberg's first appearance at a Democratic debate, Clint Eastwood is expressing some early support for the former New York City mayor's run for president.

Asked about his views on President Donald Trump and the current political scene in a new interview with The Wall Street Journal, the Mule actor and self-professed libertarian said, "The politics has gotten so ornery.” While the film legend said he agrees with “certain things that Trump’s done," Eastwood added that he wished the president acted “in a more genteel way, without tweeting and calling people names. I would personally like for him to not bring himself to that level."

He then told the reporter, "The best thing we could do is just get Mike Bloomberg in there."

Eastwood, who has historically leaned conservative on the political spectrum, famously criticized former President Barack Obama and once served as the Republican mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, between 1986 and 1988. During a speech in August 2016, Eastwood appeared to express his plans to vote for Trump, saying, "I’d have to go for Trump … you know, ’cause [Hillary Clinton’s] declared that she’s gonna follow in Obama’s footsteps.”

The actor-director also took the opportunity of his latest interview to clarify his position on a controversy over the depiction of a female journalist in his latest film, The Ballad of Richard Jewell. In the movie, written by Billy Ray and based off of a Vanity Fair story by Marie Brenner and book by Kent Alexander and Kevin Salwen, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Kathy Scruggs is portrayed as having exchanged sex for the name of a bomb suspect (Jewell, who was falsely accused) with an FBI agent. The AJC has publicly denied that this portrayal contains any truth; Scruggs died in 2001.

Eastwood told the Journal that the AJC was "ultimately responsible" for Jewell's early death at age 44 in 2007 (Jewell died due to heart failure after complications from diabetes). He added of the film's portrayal of Scruggs: “Well, she hung out at a little bar in town, where mostly police officers went. And she had a boyfriend that was a police officer. Well, we just changed it in the story. We made it a federal police officer instead of a local."

Olivia Wilde, who portrayed Scruggs in the film, said of her role to The Hollywood Reporter in December: "I have an immense amount of respect for Kathy Scruggs." She added, "She’s no longer with us, she died very young, and I feel a certain responsibility to defend her legacy — which has now been, I think unfairly, boiled down to one element of her personality, one inferred moment in the film."

As for the AJC's fierce rebukes of the portrayal of Scruggs in The Ballad of Richard Jewell, Eastwood said the publication was working to erase its "guilt" due to a "reckless story" naming Jewell. He added that he wished Warner Bros., which produced the film, had told AJC to "go screw themselves."