Jerry Springer Uncorks on Donald Trump After His Viral Debate Tweet: "There Could Be a Personality Issue"
His debate quip that Clinton deserves the White House and Trump "should be on my show" got 153,000 retweets. Now, Springer has plenty more to say about Trump's qualifications, emotional fitness and even his temperment: "The mean-spiritedness of what he says is horrible."
The most viral tweet to came out of Monday night’s presidential debate came from a seemingly unlikely source: Jerry Springer.
The legendary tabloid talk-show host lit up social media with two brief sentences — “Hillary Clinton belongs in the White House. Donald Trump belongs on my show.” — that have since been retweeted more than 153,000 times.
Grabbing the public’s attention is nothing new to the 72 year old, who will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Jerry Springer Show this Friday. But despite the tawdry reputation of his show, Springer is a man with a serious side — he’s the son of Jewish refugees who fled Nazi Germany (he lost immediate family in the Holocaust), has degrees from Tulane and Northwestern universities, has been active politically (as a Democrat) for decades and has been married to the same woman without drama since 1973.
In a conservation with The Hollywood Reporter, Springer discusses his now-famous tweet, his analysis of Trump and what he’ll do if Clinton loses.
Hillary Clinton belongs in the White House. Donald Trump belongs on my show.— Jerry Springer (@jerryspringer) September 27, 2016
So, tell me about that tweet.
This is perhaps the only presidential election in history, in my lifetime at least, where it’s not a Democrat versus a Republican, or a liberal versus a conservative. On the one side is Hilary Clinton — you may not like her, but she’s the most knowledgeable person to ever run. And then you have another person — he could be the nicest guy in the world, though it doesn’t seem that way — who has no business running for president. If you’ve never ever been a township trustee, or sat on a city council, or been a mayor or anything. If you’ve never run an entity that provides services to people, you can’t, at 70, say, “Oh, can I be president?” The leadership of the free world is not an entry-level position.
You said in your tweet that he belongs on your show. What did you mean?
He’s the only person who’s ever run who is opposed to the idea of America. This is the only country in the world that is founded on an idea. Every other country is founded on ethnicities, tribes, longstanding communities that have evolved into nations. Every one except America. It was first an idea, as articulated in the Declaration of Independence, that this was the one place on Earth where it didn’t matter what your religion was, or how you believed, or where your parents are from — this is a place you could be free. And at least metaphorically, Trump wants to replace the Statue of Liberty with a wall. Look at his statements berating Latinos, Muslims, women — it’s like what is American about this? For someone so dysfunctional, yes, that’s where he belongs. I’ve never had a guest on my show who I thought should be president.
You’ve been involved in politics for a long time.
I make my living in show business, but what I really care about are public issues. That’s why I stay engaged. I’m an immigrant — the Statue of Liberty actually meant something to my family. You want to be a Republican, fine, that’s your business. I don’t agree, but I can certainly respect it. It’s an honest discussion. [Trump] is not a Republican. There is a reason why all the living candidates for president have all come out against him. There’s a reason for that. It’s just un-American.
I’ve seen your show a few times over the years.
I’m so sorry. You can get help.
I feel like you might have more than a few Trump supporters in your audience, or as guests on your show.
Well, I’m not so sure. The demographics of our audience — there are a lot of minorities, and they tend to be for Hillary. When I go out for every show, we have 250 people in the studio audience and lately I’ve been asking who people are for. Once in a while people raise their hands for Trump. But not very many.
You’ve been at it a long time.
This Friday is going to be exactly 25 years since our first show aired. Sept. 30, 1991. I’m so sorry. I just hope hell isn’t that hot.
All your guests are real people?
The stories have to be true and they have to be outrageous. If you call us with a warm, uplifting story, then you have to go to another show. Every day when I go into work, I know going in they’re going to hand me something outrageous and that’s what it’s going to be.
Doesn’t it get old?
The show is about outrageous behavior. It’s like if you were a judge —then you can’t complain I don’t like being around criminals. That’s your job.
Do you feel any responsibility for how reality TV has penetrated the culture?
It’s the democratization of our culture accelerated by the advent of technology. For thousands of years, entertainment was people sitting in an audience watching someone onstage in the arena or the field, watching someone perform, that was entertainment. It started with talk radio. Then it moved to TV, with Phil Donahue, and then the internet, to chat rooms, where young people would entertain themselves, and then TV became interactive where people would vote for the best singer, or dancer, or vote people off the island. So it’s all been democratized, we became our own entertainers, we’d decide. And when regular people get on TV, you’re going to have reality shows. Most aren’t reality, in fact, it’s just unscripted. But our show really is reality, they’re bringing their actual life to the stage.
Is Trump a consequence of all this?
Trump is in a world of his own. There could be a personality issue there. From egomaniac to a narcissist, I don’t know, but I don’t think he’s a product of particular TV show. I think he is who he is, and TV gave him a platform to show who he is. But the mean-spiritedness of what he says is horrible. Anyone who has a daughter should be horrified. He calls women pigs, fat — not even in the darkest humor do you say that to women. Can you imagine his advisors, they must have been going “Oh, my God!” It’s one thing to rip into each other at a debate, but to rip on the public, on 50 percent of the population? And say she deserves it? That’s what every wife beater says. It’s beyond the pale.
And if he wins?
I was thinking about Canada. But all the Canadians, they’re thinking of putting up a wall and making America pay for it. No, but really ... God forbid. Listen, he could and then we’ll have to deal with it. But he’s already done the damage. These racist groups have already come out, he didn’t create it, but he opened the gate to where these groups were hiding out and now they’re out there and it’s perfectly OK. We’re going to pay a price for that.