Filmmaker, actor and staunch liberal Rob Reiner ripped GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump and defended Democrat Hillary Clinton’s vote to authorize the Iraq War in a new interview published Wednesday.
In an interview with the Daily Beast to promote his latest film, the 69-year-old Oscar nominee said Clinton’s vote for the war could be understood if placed in its proper context.
Reiner also warned of the “danger of the disappearance of the independent press” and said corporate-owned media outlets have so many obligations to their stakeholders that they often simply don’t tell the truth.
“Well, here’s the difference: Hillary did make that vote [for the Iraq War] and she did say it was a bad vote, and everybody needs to understand what that vote is,” Reiner told the outlet. “It gives the power to the president to be able to go to war if they want to, it doesn’t say, ‘I’m going to war.’ If you’re the President of the United States, you’re the commander-in-chief, and you’re the only one with the authority to pull the trigger. So Bush could have said, ‘Well, I’ve got the authority but there’s no rationale here.’ But he didn’t say that. He lied, and they all lied. And poor Colin Powell had to fall on his sword. So, we need this independent press because it’s the only way you can hold elected officials accountable.”
Reiner, who once memorably compared the Tea Party to the terrorist group Hamas, added that Clinton’s performance during the contentious Benghazi hearings earlier this year prove she has the mettle to handle the country’s top job.
“They had her in there for eleven hours,” the actor-director told the Daily Beast. “After that, I said, ‘They just handed her the presidency. We just saw a president: someone who is cool under fire and knows how to handle situations. That’s what we want.'”
“If you look out at the [2016 presidential] field, it’s not even close. She’s literally the only one qualified to be president right now,” he added. “Is she a perfect person? No. Is anyone a perfect person? No. But she’s the best possible candidate by a million miles.”
Reiner revealed he has completed filming his next movie, LBJ, about a “narrow sliver” of Lyndon B. Johnson’s life, starring Woody Harrelson. He said that he believes Johnson “would’ve gone down as one of the great presidents in American history” if it weren’t for the Vietnam War.
But he had less nice things to say about GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, whom he called a “pathological liar.”
“It keeps going and going,” Reiner said of Trump’s lying. “When I think about a guy like that, all I can think is that he’s really insecure, because why would you make up stuff all the time if you really had confidence in yourself? And on top of that, you feel the need to put your name on everything. He’s the most thin-skinned, egomaniacal, narcissistic liar ever. I’ve never seen anything like that. What scares me is that people actually pay attention to this guy! I don’t get it at all.”
Reiner’s latest film, Being Charlie, in theaters this Friday, May 6.
Read the rest of his interview with the Daily Beast here.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum