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Ethan Hawke opened up about his own family’s regrets voting for Donald Trump in the 2016 election and compared Donald Trump’s debate performance to Emperor Palpatine while appearing on The Late Show Thursday night.
While on the show to promote his upcoming Showtime limited series The Good Lord Bird in an interview that was taped and aired before the president revealed he and the first lady tested positive for COVID-19, host Stephen Colbert asked the actor to share his thoughts on the “theater” of Tuesday night’s chaotic first presidential debate.
“It kind of seemed like that moment in Star Wars when General Palpatine like reveals that he’s the Sith Lord. That was my first thought,” Hawke said. He then quickly pivoted back to Colbert’s theatrical reference, sharing his colorful interpretation of the interactions between Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden during Tuesday’s debate.
“If it was theater, I would say that that debate could have been written like if David Mamet did like 14 lines of crystal meth, stayed up all night and wrote a short play about the downfall of the United States of America,” Hawke continued. “But he couldn’t get [Robert] DeNiro or [Al] Pacino, so he had to get like two understudies from Burt Reynolds’ dinner theater and just shove them on and said, ‘Go!'”
The Texas-born Oscar-nominated actor and writer also spoke about how members of his own family have reconsidered their support of the current president since he took office in 2017. “My family’s from Texas, and whenever we get into this thing that we think somebody else is evil, we’ve lost our path, really,” Hawke explained. “The truth of the matter is, what I hear from my family is immense sadness, even from the family members that voted for Trump, about the level of misinformation and how much they’re preying on people’s fear and greed.”
Hawke went on to say that he’s witnessed “a kind of sadness” from his family about Trump not being “who they had hoped he was.” Hawke clarified that while it doesn’t mean those family members suddenly like the Democratic Party, it has led to “an overriding sadness,” if nothing else.
“You can’t be a serious Christian and respond to some of the things that he says,” Hawke told Colbert. “You can’t accept that kind of leadership.”
Hawke went on to say that Trump had “broken down political parties” before comparing him to President George H.W. Bush, a man the Blaze director called a serious and formidable person and political leader. Hawke told The Late Show host that Trump was operating outside of political party identity as “somebody fanning the flames of our inability to see each other.”
“Take the pandemic for example. We’re kind of given this false argument like we have to decide between the economy and our health,” Hawke said. “We’re grownups. We’re responsible adults and parents, and we have to do both. We have to keep people healthy, and we have to keep the economy going. It’s a false argument that one side of the team is for something.”
Watch the full segment below.
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