Scandal star Kerry Washington lit into Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, during an appearance Friday on HBO’s Real Time, telling host Bill Maher that Democrat Hillary Clinton has the better policies, but that her message has been drowned out while the media chooses to focus its coverage on Trump.
When asked by Maher about the “enthusiasm gap” that threatens Clinton’s candidacy — support for the Democrat among millennials has dropped nearly 2o points in one month, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday — the 39-year-old actress said the bigger problem is that Americans are being led to vote based on “cult of personality” instead of the issues.
“I think if we really look at policy, voting for Trump is voting against our best interests as Americans, as workers, as people of color, as women,” Washington said. “Not voting is voting against ourselves… and I think, in this election, voting for a third-party candidate is voting against ourselves.”
Washington also ripped Conway, who took over as Trump’s campaign manager this summer, and Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, whom she called smarter than the candidate himself.
“I think it’s important that we not be distracted by these very smart, very articulate, beautiful women who work in the Trump campaign, who are a lot smarter than the candidate I think, and we need to be not swayed by that because they will not have their finger on the button, he will.”
“A lot of people say, ‘She doesn’t have policy, she doesn’t address the issues that are important to us,’ but I think that’s because the noise, again, is coming from the bully in the playground,” she said. “If you do the research, the policy is there.”
“Kellyanne [Conway] is really good at what she does; believe me, playing Olivia Pope, I know spin when I see it,” the actress added, referring to her character on Scandal. “We have to do the work to dig because the media is not spoon-feeding us the information we need to vote in our best interest.”
Washington is among the dozens of celebrities and activists who in January signed on to the “Stop Hate Dump Trump” campaign, in which they pledged to “speak out in every way possible” to prevent the Republican candidate from winning the White House in November.
In March, the actress appeared in an ad for Clinton’s campaign alongside Scandal showrunner Shonda Rhimes and actresses Ellen Pompeo and Viola Davis.
Washington is up for an Emmy Award at Sunday night’s ceremony for her role as Anita Hill in the HBO movie Confirmation.
Watch Washington’s appearance on Real Time above.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum