Tuesday on MSNBC’s special election coverage, host Tamron Hall had a heated interview with actor and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump supporter, Scott Baio.
Partial transcript as follows:
HALL: Did you write your own speech? Nothing plagiarized there?
BAIO: I did. I know the joke. I don’t know exactly what happened. I heard things about the — Melania’s speech. I can’t comment on it. But yes, I wrote my speech — I was asked to do this Thursday. I wrote my speech in church on Sunday morning. And then — and then I delivered it on Monday.
HALL: Part of your speech that got a lot of attention was the final line there where you said make America America again. Explain what you meant by that.
BAIO: Make America America again just means what this country was founded on. Which is hard work, perseverance, individualism, not looking to government for everything. Getting off the dole. Getting back to faith. Getting back to the things that we were founded on. We have gone so far off the rails, and the people — the people that come here, the first-time voters and the — and the young people who are not taught anything about the history of this country. They don’t — if you asked anybody in school today who William Bradford is, they have no idea. That the man started this country as a commonwealth, and — which is basically socialism and realized very quickly that that doesn’t work, and he devised the capitalist system within the pilgrims here. That’s what I mean. Hard work and getting back to where we are as a nation. One people, not factions of people, not the black community, not the Hispanic community, not the Chinese — just one . I’m an Italian guy from Brooklyn. I’m an American. I’m not an Italian-American. I’m an American. So that’s what I mean by that.
HALL: When you talk about, for example, people wanting things from the government, one of the things that remains hugely popular with your own party, conservatives, Social Security and Medicare. You have older citizens in Florida who say, ‘Oh, you want an Obama phone,’ but they want their Medicare. So is there some kind of hypocrisy there when you have people who say, I don’t want something free for the other guy, but I want things that started out as socialist ideas for myself. and that’s within your own party.
BAIO: Well, social security was started by FDR, who was a Democrat. and what I’ve read about all of that is that was done for votes.
HALL: Everything is done for votes. You and I both know that.
BAIO: Yes, right. but Social Security needs to be fixed. But for somebody to just get —
HALL: Donald Trump says he’s not touching it.
BAIO: Listen, you can’t — nobody is perfect, Tamron. If I were president — the only guy I agree with 100% of the time is me. I have all the answers. But I don’t agree with Mr. Trump on everything. I don’t agree with George Bush on everything. I don’t agree with you or my wife on everything. But I just think there are certain things that — instead of looking to government, just try to do for yourself. My father went broke when I was a kid.
HALL: Should there be Medicare, for example? Should we abolish Medicare?
BAIO: In my opinion, everything should — and I don’t have the fix, but everything that’s going broke needs to be fixed. Whether it becomes private — I think Social Security should be privatized. I think health care should be private. I don’t think it should be government running it. I think the private sector will take care of everything in this country.
Hall: Let’s talk about your speech. I know you said you went to church and talked about your religion. One of the things that caught my eye was this tweet you sent out July 10, a photo of Hillary Clinton standing in front of the word “count.” the o is blocking, so it appears she is standing in front of the c-word.
HALL:: Did you think about that in church when you tweeted it out?
BAIO: I just put it up there.
HALL: I’m just asking, you’re writing your speech in church, you talk about religion coming back to this country and us having a moral barometer. Where was your moral compass when you put a photo of a woman which you disagree politically and that’s fine…
BAIO: Tamron, you can look at that any way you want. It’s the word count, which she is standing in front of. I just put it up there. There is no commentary, I didn’t call her anything. And the fact that you question my faith…
HALL: I’m asking — I’m just asking — you question others’ faith when you say we need to bring back religion, implying that somehow the moral compass for people that you don’t even know. But let me throw this out to you. 2010, you tweeted out an unflattering image of Michelle Obama with the caption ‘Wow. he wakes up to this every morning.’
HALL: Last night…some people agree with you. Last night, I went on social media to see what you were saying about your speech, and I realized that you blocked me. Why did you block me from social media? I’m just curious.
BAIO: That might have been a mistake.
HALL: Oh, okay
BAIO: I wouldn’t have blocked you. That might have been a mistake.
HALL: It’s okay if you do. I was wondering if it was because the Michelle Obama tweet.
BAIO: Absolutely not. I’m not afraid of anybody. That tweet is a joke. Tamron, I’m a guy from Brooklyn. I have a certain sense of humor. I sit with my buddies and we smoke cigars.
HALL: Is joking about a woman that way make America great again?
BAIO: No, it’s a joke about a woman yelling at her husband. We talk about — my wife did this, my wife is breaking my chops today.
HALL: This wasn’t about your wife. That was about the first lady.
BAIO: I said that about my friend’s wife.
HALL: But you put that — I guess my point is, I agree with you. We should all want to be better people to teach our children to be better people. but — let me finish. I agree with you. you have — I’m not a parent. But I see how this may or may not affect our divisiveness. White people, hey, black people, hey, when we tweet things out that were so ugly.
BAIO: It has nothing to do with race.
HALL: I didn’t say that. I said we are all together.
BAIO: I agree.
HALL: I do this for a living. you can’t chop my words up. I am telling you clearly what I said. what I said was, we’re all here together.
BAIO: I get it.
HALL: So is it the moral compass that you want to present to our children, to your fans, that you have this incendiary tweet about Hillary Clinton, and you certainly should disagree with her, politically, because you do. or the first lady of this United States, Michelle Obama, regardless of color. I’m just asking, is that the higher Scott Baio?
BAIO: Listen, there’s different levels to me. You want me to be square and nice to everybody.
HALL: No, I don’t. I want you to be what you say…
BAIO: Let me talk — and you want me to be sweet and gentle to a man, a president, who says if they bring a knife to an argument, you bring a gun. that’s what President Obama said. Now, if you want me to go after a guy like that — all bets are off at that point.
HALL: That’s absolutely not true, but I’ll tell you this the person that you support — the person you support said, he could take a gun out on Fifth Avenue and shoot someone in the head, and you would still support him is that true?
BAIO: Tamron, that’s — that’s ridiculous.
HALL: I’m just keeping it —
BAIO: Yes, he did. Did Obama say that he would take out a knife he would take out a gun?
HALL: I don’t recall that.
BAIO: If I find the quote, you’ll put it up on social media?
HALL: I can’t because you blocked me.
BAIO: I’ll unblock you.
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