PHILADELPHIA – Actor Billy Baldwin referred to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump as “a baboon of a child” during an exclusive interview at the Democratic National Convention.
He also said the “Bernie or Bust” faction of the Democratic Party is “great” and what “democracy is all about.”
“I think the media is making a bigger deal. I think it’s great. I think that’s what democracy is all about. I mean dissension, challenging authority. I would love to see there be a viable third party that challenges the Republicans and the Democrats in every election cycle. I think it’s very healthy for democracy,” Baldwin said.
PJM interviewed Dr. Cornel West during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where West said Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is “more of a hawk” than Trump on foreign policy issues. Baldwin was asked if he agreed with West.
“Worse than who? He has no record. I mean I would say that — I don’t want to comment on foreign policy because I can’t do that as responsibly as I might on banking and the Defense Department. I think that Hillary Clinton is more comfortable on Wall Street and more comfortable in the Pentagon, especially after her experience with the State Department, than I’m comfortable with, so I’m not sure on every single issue,” Baldwin said.
“Actually, I don’t even want to go there. I’m not really comfortable with Donald Trump in any way shape or form. He’s not fit for the office. He’s like a baboon of a child and I’ve known him for a long time, not well, I’ve had a lot of interactions with him. I know Marla Maples from the 1980s and I know Donald Trump well enough to know he should run the Trump Corporation and if a Republican were elected president and they wanted to have him on some committee or some advisory panel, I would welcome that. This is not a guy that has the temperament to lead the free world,” he added.
Baldwin was asked if Trump’s business experience has prepared him for the presidency.
“I think there could be a role for him to play but you need like Warren Buffet’s success and business acumen. If you had Warren Buffet at 45 years old who kinda shot from the hip in a politically incorrect way. That’s kind of what the people want. Not just on the Republican side but on the Democratic side, too,” he said.
Baldwin told PJM that “the Founding Fathers created a system that’s broken” because of Citizens United. He said there should be total public financing of campaigns.
“Corporations and special interests run this country and the one man, one vote representative democracy the Founding Fathers created doesn’t exist anymore. That is the one thing Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump could do to have the greatest impact, and if the Democrats can control the Senate and they get the appointment in the Supreme Court and they can overturn Citizens United and take this,” he said.
“Buckley v. Valeo determined that money equals speech so the Supreme Court supports Citizens United, but I don’t think the Founding Fathers intended for an overwhelming and disproportional amount of free speech to go to Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers and George Soros on the left or the right. These guys have a disproportional amount of influence in the process and you can level the playing field by taking money out of politics,” he added.
Baldwin said total “public financing of campaigns” could restore “the dignity and the credibility” of the founding principles of democracy.
He told a story of a panel discussion on campaign finance reform that he participated in with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
“John McCain, when it was over, stood up and was taking off his microphone and goes ‘I’m sorry. I’m on my way to a $25,000-a-plate fundraiser for the Republican Party.’ And he said, ‘I don’t want this. I want to change this. I know you’re going to think I’m a hypocrite but this is the way the systems works and until you work with me to help us fix it, this is how it works,’” Baldwin recalled.
He argued that the McCain-Feingold bill created “mammoth” and “galactic loopholes” that led to the “mess we currently find ourselves in, and the only way to address the issue is not a McCain-Feingold redo.”
“You just take all the money out of politics by having public funding. That levels the playing field. If you’re running for Senate in California versus Senate in South Dakota, you don’t get the same amount of money,” Baldwin said.
“The TV buys, the cost of living, it’s all going to be different. I don’t know how they’re going to figure that out, but they’re going to have to put together their blue-ribbon panel to try to figure out how to finance this stuff. Aside from climate change, which we have to address and address quickly, the issue of Citizens United and how campaigns are financed is, for me, singularly one of the most important and pressing issues of this generation,” he added.
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