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Stephen Baldwin is a rare Donald Trump supporter in Hollywood, so he knows how polarizing a figure the president can be. Hence, the actor was an obvious choice for a new TV show where he travels across the U.S. talking to Americans about the state of the union nearly a year into the presidency of a former reality TV star. The show, Great American Pilgrimage … The GAP, is one of the more popular ones on RT, a Kremlin-backed network that broadcasts to viewers in 38 countries. The Hollywood Reporter talked with Baldwin about the series, Trump and other topics.
Why should people care about American Pilgrimage?
In a wacky way, it’s starting a conversation, and if people like to laugh, then they should care. The more detailed answer is that I was really surprised by the visceral anger within the protests. This isn’t the America I grew up with. I grew up with how America reacted to 9-11, where everybody helped everybody, and that’s not the feeling anymore. People are genuinely afraid to be themselves, so I decided to jump in an RV with my three dogs and ask people what “American” means to them, and somehow I sold it to RT, so God bless me!
Are people in Hollywood afraid to be themselves if they support Trump, as you do? After all, there’s a secret group of conservatives in Hollywood comprised of 2,500 people afraid to be themselves.
I know exactly the group you are talking about. This was the gnarliest presidential election ever. And I say this to you and The Hollywood Reporter: There are some really powerful, A-list celebrities doing crazy stuff to protest this president. One of them is obvious and that one is off the table.
If he or she is so obvious, how come I don’t know who you are referring to?
Because you’re one of the few people who goes home at the end of the day and reads a good book. But let’s talk about one kid in Hollywood, Seth Rogen, who canceled a Sirius XM Radio appearance because Steve Bannon has a show on Sirius. Really, Seth? Really? That’s your message? It’s counter to his First Amendment rights. And that’s just one example. Now, I don’t know the guy beyond social media, but I don’t think he’s funny; his box office will determine his legacy. I’m glad I don’t live under the slavery of that worry anymore. I hope you don’t print all of this; it will get me in trouble.
Well, that’s my next question: Why don’t you worry about getting in trouble?
I’m a Baldwin brother, and that sends fear into anyone’s heart, instantly.
But your PR person said I wasn’t supposed to mention your brothers.
Well, as long as we don’t go too deep. Like what my mom says: During the Republican convention for the re-election of George W. Bush, Stephen was inside campaigning and Billy was outside picketing.
Where was brother Alec?
Counting his money.
What do you think of his impression of Trump?
I can’t get into it. I haven’t spoken to him since the election. That’s the truth. That is by his choice. We grew up in a dumb-jock, competitive, Friday Night Lights kind of environment. And I’m sorry, Paul, but my guy won. Sorry. That’s what happened.
Is it fair to extrapolate that experience to much of Hollywood, where people have lost relationships over their support of Trump?
Yes. I have really smart friends who are succeeding quite well as producers, writers and financiers, and they hold conservative views but they cannot speak their minds — at all. There’s a large constituency in Hollywood who voted for Trump but will never admit to that. And, Paul, I’m calling it now: With the amount of money Alec is going to make with this new tax cut, I bet he votes for Trump for re-election. Just saying!
Are you insinuating that it’s a tax cut for the rich?
What I’m saying is that The Boss Baby sequel money is going to go a long way because of Trump.
Does Trump still have your support?
Absolutely. I like him because we’re the same kind of guy. He’s going to do what he thinks is best, and I’m the kind of guy, like Trump, who doesn’t like to confuse who I am or what I need to do. The biggest thing is financially. I’m guessing this Christmas, retail sales will be the highest they’ve been in 15 years, maybe more.
Anything he has done that you don’t like?
You need to write that I just started cackling — not chuckling, but cackling. You see the pause here, my friend, because I’m one of the very few supporters who really likes Trump a lot. It’s long overdue to see someone with this kind of brash, these kind of balls, really, to take on all this corruption. I don’t want to steer the conversation into dossiers and that BS, but it’s refreshing that he’s so far outside the politician box.
Have you spoken to Trump since the election?
No, but I’ll be seeing him at the National Prayer Breakfast. I’m one of the few supporters that, after he won, I just went home. We joked earlier about my big brother, and I’ll tell you that one of the funniest phone calls I got was from a friend who said Alec was worried that Trump would appoint me to something. Don’t worry, Alec, I’m just home on the farm praying for the president’s continued success, and it seems to be working.
You’re also outspoken about your Christianity, right?
Well, if you Google “Stephen Baldwin,” the fourth thing that comes back is that I’m “the Jesus freak of Hollywood.”
Does it bother you to be known as that?
Yes and no. It’s unfortunate that because I have believed in Jesus for 15 years that there are many in Hollywood who are unwilling to work with me. That’s not a guess. Casting people and producers have told me that they’ve brought up my name in a room and the response was, “No way, we’re not bringing that guy and his Bible over here.”
Does your Christianity hurt you more than your Trump support?
Wow. Let me see. Who do I take more persecution from, Trump or Jesus? (Laughs.) That’s an interesting question, my friend. I’m certainly happy we can giggle about it. Humor was invented by Jesus. Please put that in the interview so all those fabulous people in Hollywood can read that Baldwin said Jesus invented humor. But this is why I’m doing American Pilgrimage, because we all connect through humor, but we’re losing that joy, that irony of laughing. Let me tell you something: I’m not a Bill Clinton fan, but every time I see video of him playing the saxophone on The Tonight Show, I smile, because it’s a great moment.
You’ve said so much that will get you in trouble. Any last words?
Yes. Please ask Joe Rogan to interview me on his podcast. He used to host Fear Factor, and now he’s got the largest podcast in the world. But I don’t think I ever answered your question — who have I been persecuted more for: Trump or Jesus? The answer is, of course, Jesus. But President Trump is a not-too-far-behind, very close second.
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