Liberal documentarian Michael Moore praised President Obama’s response to the horrific mass shooting in Oregon this week, calling Obama’s renewed calls for gun control “awesome” and expressing hope that the president would take action before he leaves office.
The director’s comments came Friday afternoon at the New York Film Festival premiere of his new documentary Where to Invade Next, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The film follows Moore as he “invades” other countries to explore what America could learn from them.
“I am, as I said in the film, an optimist. I’m not a cynic, I don’t think it’s all f***ed,” Moore told the audience after the screening. “I feel like that sometimes, especially when things happen like yesterday’s shooting in Oregon, what do we do about that? [President Obama’s response] was awesome, and he inches his way toward that place where he needs to go. I hope he goes there. He’s got a year left.”
Of course, Moore’s position on gun control is not exactly a surprise; the director’s 2002 film Bowling for Columbine, a critical look at gun culture in the United States, won him a Best Documentary Oscar and cemented his status as America’s premiere progressive documentarian.
Moore couldn’t help but refer to his earlier film while discussing the shooting deaths in Oregon: “We’re like, ‘what’s the point of making that film? Here we are, 13 years later.’ But we know that’s the rabbit hole not to go down, because as I said at the end of the film, we know things can change and will change.”
“I said after Newtown — and I didn’t say this glibly and it’s upsetting to think about — if they actually showed the crime scene photo of 20 first graders with their heads blown off, how long would the NRA stay in power?” he added.
Moore also weighed in on the 2016 presidential race, saying he doesn’t believe a Republican could win the White House because of the country’s shifting demographics.
“Seventy-nine percent of the United States are either women, people of color or between the ages of 18 and 30,” Moore explained. “Young people. That’s the block you have to win to get elected. That’s 79 percent of the country! Women, people of color, young people. Donald Trump has none of those blocks! He can’t win the majority of any of those blocks.”
“The candidate [who will win] will appeal to the issues that women care about, that young people care about, and acknowledge that black lives matter and there are people of color in this country that have made it what it is. When they debated the GOP [and say] the American people, they’re thinking of the white guy, or the angry white guy, and that’s just not America anymore. That America is over. It is more of the melting pot… To just ignore that or to not address that or to say that you have the right to regulate a woman’s uterus but not guns? It’s like, I think the only safe place for guns is in a woman’s uterus, then they would be regulated by our Republican Congress!”
While his new film examines so much of what America has gotten wrong, Moore thinks America has gotten things right in at least one respect: “In terms of public policy, we elected Barack Obama over John McCain — that was a good idea, I think. I think that saved us a little bit… There’s a lot of great things about us.”
Where to Invade Next will be distributed by a new joint venture formed by former Radius-TWC executives Tom Quinn and Jason Janego, and Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League.