WASHINGTON – Film and television director Rob Reiner said his main criticism of Donald Trump’s presidency to date is him “showing up” for the job.
Trump skipped the White House Correspondents’ Dinner for the second year to attend a campaign rally instead. Reiner was asked if he would have liked to see Trump speak at the event.
“No, I’m not disappointed. I mean, it clearly shows he’s frightened of this event,” Reiner told PJM at the Washington Hilton before the dinner last Saturday.
Reiner also said Trump is frightened of the media.
“Oh, yeah, he doesn’t like the media, the ‘fake news,’ you know. He calls it ‘fake news.’ I mean, this is a celebration of the First Amendment and he doesn’t have a very big respect for the First Amendment,” he said.
Reiner, who has voiced opposition to Trump, was asked to identify his main criticism of Trump’s presidency so far.
“Showing up. Showing up, that was the biggest, that’s the biggest problem he’s had — showing up for this job,” he said.
Asked for the No. 1 policy disagreement he has with Trump, Reiner quipped, “I’m with him right down the line. Let’s build the wall. Let’s keep all the Muslims out. These are, I think, very solid policies.”
Reiner sarcastically said that Democrats could take back the majority in Congress if they are able to successfully “steal” certain ideas from Trump like building the border wall.
“Build the wall and keep all the Muslims out. If we can steal those ideas from him, I think we have a good chance to see that blue wave come,” he said.
Reiner predicted that Democrats would win the majority in the House of Representatives and take control for the first time since 2009.
“I think so, yeah, I do,” he said.
Actor Richard Schiff of The West Wing and Ballers expressed his disapproval of Trump’s job performance during the Creative Coalition’s #RightToBearArts gala held the night before the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where he joined other entertainers to advocate for federal funding of the arts. Trump had initially proposed eliminating funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, but ultimately signed a spending bill that increased the NEA’s funding by $3 million.
“I know that when a president of the United States states out loud that he wants to kill the National Endowment for the Arts and all the good that they do, to me it asks questions of, does a person who wants to kill the NEA know anything about what the NEA does?” Schiff said. “And do they know that the return of investment is seven to nine dollars to one? If Donald Trump had that return of investment for his businesses he never would be president; he would just be gone. It is an incredible investment and return.”
Schiff was asked if the initial proposal to eliminate the NEA’s funding surprised him given Trump’s success in television with The Apprentice on NBC.
“No, I honestly do not care what his motives are, what his opinion is. I know that his function right now is to take apart this state. He’s said it out loud – that’s his objective, whether it’s the State Department, whether it’s the National Endowment for the Arts, he wants to take it apart and destroy it,” he said. “So what his motive is, I could care less. What’s important is that we maintain the institutions of this democracy so that we can move on long after he’s gone.”
Schiff said his greatest concern about the future of the country is the “fact that we are under President Trump.”
Schiff was asked for his reaction to the leaders of North Korea and South Korea meeting for the first time in more than 10 years.
“We haven’t been at war for what, 60 years? So it wasn’t a concern until recently. I never had fear under the Obama administration or the Bush administration or the Clinton administration despite advancements in technology and nuclear power and all that stuff. We’ve never been in a threat of war since the treaty in 1953, so only in the last year have we been scared that there’s going to be a war, right?” Schiff said.
“So am I relieved? No, because you still have the person and the people in place who created the threat that has not existed in my lifetime in the last year,” he added. “Am I encouraged that the leaders of both Koreas are meeting and they have stated that the war is over, officially? That’s great. Let’s see if it’s not just words.”