Michael Moore: How I Moved from Supporting Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton for President
HAVANA TIMES — With the U.S. election only days away, Michael Moore has released a surprise new film about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton titled “Michael Moore in TrumpLand.” Democracy Now! sat down with the Academy Award-winning filmmaker and talked about how he moved from supporting Bernie Sanders during the primary to now supporting Hillary Clinton.
“My hope was that on Tuesday we would have the great decision … between the socialist and the billionaire,” Moore says. On Clinton, he notes: “She is a hawk. She is to the right of Obama. That’s the truth. … We’re going to have to be active.”
AMY GOODMAN: We continue our conversation with Michael Moore, the Academy Award-winning filmmaker. His latest film, an October surprise, it’s called Michael Moore in TrumpLand. I asked him if he’s ever met Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.
MICHAEL MOORE: I’ve only met him once, back in 1998. And there’s a—I think there was a clip of that in the trailer there, where I was on a talk show with him. And—
AMY GOODMAN: Whose talk show?
MICHAEL MOORE: Roseanne Barr, after her series was over, had a—for two years, had an afternoon talk show. And she came to New York for a week at Tavern on the Green, and she invited me to come on. And I get there, and Donald Trump is the other guest. And the producer comes over to me and says, “Um, I’m really—I’m really sorry, but, um, Mr. Trump is very nervous about you being on the show, and, um, he is afraid you’re going to attack him. And, um, uh”—I said, “Let me talk to him. You know, he’s sitting over in the corner over there. I’ll go talk to him.”
So I go over and introduce myself. “Mr. Trump, I’m Michael Moore. You know, I understand you’re a little worried. There’s nothing to worry about.” You know, I—and this is ’98, so I don’t know that much about Trump, right? You know, I just—I know he’s made some—built some buildings. I said, “There no reason to be—we’re here to have some fun with Roseanne. You don’t have to worry.” And I’m shaking his hand, and it’s all clammy. I mean, the guy is like so nervous. And I’m like—you know, so I think my job is I’ve got to calm him down. “We’re going to be fine. We’ll go out on the couch. We’ll have some fun.” I’m trying to help the producer out, right? So he won’t—because they’re afraid he’s going to walk. And he goes, “No, no. It’s just—it’s just that, you know, uh, you know, I just don’t want to go out there and like, you know, because, you know, I just”—I said, “Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t. It’s not that kind of show. Don’t worry. Don’t worry. It’s OK.” And so, we go out on the show, and, again, I don’t—I don’t go after him on anything. I just leave him alone, you know.
And when it was over—and I didn’t think this until—until actually this past year, where I thought, “That guy is good, man. I got played.” He got me to not bring up any of his crap there on that show, because he got—I felt sorry for him. And I thought, “This guy is good.” This guy didn’t get to where he got by being stupid. He is not stupid. And I thought—he got me to not say anything political, do anything political, and just have, you know, a little laugh fest on the couch there with—on The Roseanne Show.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, when you made this, it was right around the time the women were coming forward saying he assaulted them, right?
MICHAEL MOORE: When the—my movie, the new one right now?
AMY GOODMAN: It was just breaking. Yes.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes, yes, yeah. Oh, yes. Actually, that performance that you see in the film is literally four hours after the Billy Bush tape is revealed. So I have just watched this tape. I haven’t heard any of the pundits or anything. I’ve just watched the tape, and now I’m going to go out on the stage. So, when you see the film, there’s a portion of the film where I talk about women of Hillary’s age and women of that generation, who grew up in—essentially, the first feminists of the modern feminist era in the ’60s and early ’70s, and what they went through to be feminists and the crap that they had to take as a result of that. And so, now, when I watch the film, I know what’s playing in my head is I just had watched this god-awful conversation that Trump was having with Billy Bush.
And it was so vile and so—you know, I mean, let’s—OK, let’s be honest. There’s nothing he said on that tape that was surprising, that, you know, “Oh, I can’t believe Donald Trump said these things.” You know, no. And I wasn’t surprised by Billy Bush, W’s first cousin—right?—that he was actually trying to pimp—pimp Trump out there when they got out. Oh, it was just awful. You know, it was like somebody last year went to Dr. Frankenstein and said, “Listen, we want to create a candidate that embodies all the worst traits of men, rich people and white people, and put them all into one candidate.” And then here we have Donald J. Trump.
But anyway, so I’m thinking—if you go back and watch that tape, OK, we know the vile comments, we know the attitude, we know now he’s a confessed sexual predator. But it’s when he tries to get off the bus. He goes down. He doesn’t know how to get off the bus. He knocks—look at the tape. He knocks on the door of the bus. And I went, “Oh, my god! This is the first time in his life he’s ever been on a bus. This man has never ridden the bus.” Right there, that should be a disqualifier for being president of the United States. No president should—we should never elect anybody who’s never ridden on a friggin’ bus. So, it was just the whole thing. And then I went out on the stage and performed and filmed this piece.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, let’s go in a different direction to the part of Michael Moore in TrumpLand where you talk about Beyoncé’s halftime performance at the Super Bowl.
MICHAEL MOORE: I predict anthropologists, they will know the moment it happened, when it was clear the men were on the way out and the women were on their way in. And it was the Super Bowl this past year. You know, it’s halftime show. Coldplay is playing one of their nice songs. “Ooh, I love you a lot, ooh, ooh.” And then Bruno Mars came on, and then that sort of confused a lot of guys watching the halftime show. “Ooh, what is this?” And then, all of a sudden, right in the middle of Bruno’s song, out comes Beyoncé and 500 women in these uniforms, with their fists clenched and raised, and their [bleep]-kicking boots on, taking the field. “Oooh!” It’s like, “Oh, my—wait! That’s our game! What’s she doing here?” That’s where we’re ending up. And guys know it. And that’s why they’re at the Trump rallies. That’s why you hear that sound. “Woooaaaaaaaaah! Woooooah! Donald, save us! The women are coming!”
AMY GOODMAN: Michael, what was the response in the audience?
MICHAEL MOORE: It was well received, even by the guys. Even—because the guys know it. The guys—see, the guys—listen, this isn’t just—this isn’t a new thing, where women are in charge or that women are—you know, I mean, we gradually now—20 percent of our Congress is female, so the majority gender now has 20 percent of the power, even though they are 51 percent of the population. So, but men have had to get used to this, I think, after a while. But some of the guys are having a very hard time with it. And even Obama referenced them a couple days ago, where, you know, he said, “Guys, you know, I know this is something you’re not used to—a woman in the White House. Two hundred and forty years, we’ve done it one way.” So, sometimes, you know, people are a little nervous about change, and they’re used to—you know, they want it a certain way.
But you know what? These guys who have a problem with Hillary, with women in general, they’re going to have to get over it. Just like when you and I were growing up—I remember my parents taking me on a trip to the South, and I saw signs that said “whites only” and “colored only” and all that. And then there was a law, and they had to take the signs down, and things changed. Racism didn’t go away, but the proponents of it and the people that held power with these attitudes either had to change or move out of the way, because a new generation was coming up. That’s what’s so great about this generation now, young people, 18 to 35, the Bernie revolution, is that they are the ones in charge now. They’re going to be in charge. And I’m very optimistic about this, because—because every year 3 million 17-year-olds turn 18, which means they’re voters. And in these next four years before the next presidential election, there’s going to be 12 million more young voters. And they’re not haters. You know, they—the majority of these young people are—that’s why they’re driving this whole thing. It’s why we have a different society now that is not so hateful to gay people and to people of color and that. Doesn’t mean that’s gone away, but it’s better because we have young people now, you know, steering the car a little bit here.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think if the media had not—had given as much time to Bernie Sanders as they did to Donald Trump, had given as much time to Bernie Sanders as they did to the open—the empty podium when they were waiting for Donald Trump for all the months of the primary, had played a few of Bernie’s speeches—I mean, he was getting more people to his speeches without the help of the media megaphone than even Donald Trump was, and certainly Hillary Clinton was. And you see how far Bernie went. Do you think it is possible that it would have been very different, since they both represented something outside the system?
MICHAEL MOORE: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. In fact, I mean, my hope was that, on Tuesday, we would have the great decision, the choice, between the socialist and the billionaire. I mean, that—
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think he is a billionaire?
MICHAEL MOORE: Well, he likes to call himself that. And, you know, sometimes you have to humor people that think they have things they don’t have. You know, so, yes, I’ll just—I’ll let him, you know, out of respect for him as a human being.
No, I think, listen—oh, my god. I mean, of course, I worked very hard for Bernie. I went up to Burlington and campaigned for him in 1990, when he first won for Congress. You know, I was the only like quasi-known person at that time who would go up there and campaign for him. And so I’ve known him a long time. And, man, we won 22 states in the primaries and caucuses this year. I tell my, you know, fellow Bernie voters, “Hey, I know we’re all kind of bummed about this and, you know, the DNC cheaters”—cheaters, you know, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, you know, all the—you know, there will be more that will come out. We’re going to learn a lot more on what they did to him. But we’ll set that aside for a moment, and just like—we’ve got to feel some joy and celebrate what we accomplished: 22 states, in our lifetime, voted for a socialist. That was just an amazing thing to have happen. And then the candidate who gets nominated, Hillary Clinton, she adopts over two-thirds of his platform—
AMY GOODMAN: Like?
*MICHAEL MOORE: —as part of her—well, she puts it in her own words, in terms of raising the minimum wage. She doesn’t say, you know, “free college,” she says “debt-free college.” You know, go down the list of things, though, in terms of paid maternity leave, women being paid the same as men—all these issues that we care about. We didn’t get everything that we wanted, but we got a lot—listen, I mean, 1998, I worked for Jesse Jackson when he ran for president. And he won the Michigan primary. He won a lot of primaries. People forget this. But Dukakis was the nominee. How much—how much of Jesse’s platform did Dukakis put in as part of his? Nah, I don’t remember anything. So, we were able to move the ball down the field. Hillary didn’t go—she didn’t become more conservative as a Democrat, she became more liberal. She—
AMY GOODMAN: Well, she was running in the primaries.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes. And, well—and now she’s not going to win without us on Tuesday. That’s the bottom line. And she’s not going to win without young people, because here’s one thing that we know now. We know how African Americans are going to vote. We know how Hispanics are going to vote.
AMY GOODMAN: Are you concerned polls say that—
MICHAEL MOORE: We know how women are going to vote.
AMY GOODMAN: —not as many African Americans are going out in early voting as it was expected?
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes. That’s why—that’s why today Hillary Clinton is going to Detroit, when she shouldn’t have to go there, but she has to go there, because in Detroit—one of the polls I read from Detroit is that she had lost 11 points of African-American voters in Detroit. Not that they’re going to Trump, but just they’re probably not going to vote. Yes, there’s a huge fire siren going off in the Clinton campaign, because, once again, they’ve ignored certain constituencies that they shouldn’t have ignored, and they took it for granted. And they treated Bernie very poorly during the primaries about somehow she was for African Americans and he wasn’t, or, you know, when—I mean, his whole history, from the time he was in college getting arrested at civil rights demonstrations, you know, and when she, in her freshman year, she’s the head of the college Republicans. So, I felt bad for him that he just had to suffer through all those things he did as a young person to stand up, you know, when it wasn’t popular, in 1963, to stand up for certain things.
AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go to another clip of Michael Moore in TrumpLand. This one’s about Hillary Clinton.
MICHAEL MOORE: I got a surprise for you tonight. Someone from the Trump campaign has leaked us a copy of their new ad.
NARRATOR: The diseases, she’s had them all—pneumonia, hypo-thyroidism, allergies, yeast infection, urinary tract discomfort, pregnancy, child birth, time of month disorder, bleeding from wherever disease and menopause. Do you want a commander-in-chief whose lady parts are out of control? Or do you want a fit, buff leader, who will be the healthiest president ever. Ever! Even healthier than Teddy Roosevelt, and he was shot in the chest. Yes, there’s only one candidate this year healthy enough to spawn an entire new breed of humans. Vote Trump. He never gets sick.
DONALD TRUMP: I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?
NARRATOR: Now, that’s sick!
DONALD TRUMP: I’m Donald Trump, and I so approve this message.
MICHAEL MOORE: Effective. I think he’s going to do really well.
AMY GOODMAN: Michael Moore?
MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, you know, I was elected class comic when I was a senior in high school. I’ve used it well, I hope.
AMY GOODMAN: But he’s doing much better than you might have thought, right? Especially now, even since you gave these speeches in Ohio.
MICHAEL MOORE: Well, yes. I mean, I’ve said, since the summer, people should take him seriously. I said a year and a half ago, when he announced, this is going to be the Republican nominee for president. It’s probably because I watch a lot of TV, so I’m one of the few people on the left that actually watched Celebrity Apprentice. You know, I watch American Idol. But I know how Americans are, when they come—when it comes to voting. Everybody thinks Jennifer Hudson won American Idol. She didn’t. Fantasia won. You know, people—who remembers Fantasia now, right? But this is what can happen when Americans vote. You know, I watched The Bachelorette last year. Kaitlyn, everybody thought she was going to go for Nick; instead, she went for Shawn. I’m just saying, stuff can happen in this country.
AMY GOODMAN: And in elections, the surprises that you’ve lived in your lifetime?
MICHAEL MOORE: I was stunned that a B actor whose co-star was a chimpanzee could get elected president—twice. He was called “Tricky Dick” before he was elected—twice. Then W, you know, who wasn’t elected.
AMY GOODMAN: But wait. First you’re talking about Ronald Reagan.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, yes.
AMY GOODMAN: Then you’re talking about Richard Nixon.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes, for those who have had their head in the sand for three decades.
AMY GOODMAN: Or were just recently born.
MICHAEL MOORE: Or just—yeah, OK, that’s true, young people, yes. These were actual presidents that were elected. And then this guy named W, W, George W. Bush, who, during one of the debates, when he was asked who the president of Pakistan was, he couldn’t—he went, “Uh, General—General—General General.” That’s—remember this? It was like—we elected that guy—well, once, we elected him. The other time he wasn’t elected. But no, this—anything can happen in this country. And it can happen in ways you don’t—I mean, Minnesota, I consider that—you’ve traveled—right?—the country. It’s one of the smarter states, you know? I mean, you know, there’s like what I call the smart states. You know, Oregon.
AMY GOODMAN: I just came back from North Dakota.
MICHAEL MOORE: North—oh, that’s a wonderful state. Actually, anything that sort of borders or is near Canada, you know, there’s something—I don’t know, there’s something that comes down. The people have a—I’m just saying that in Minnesota, if you remember, they elected a professional wrestler as their governor. Can Donald J. Trump be elected in this country as president of the United States? Absolutely. And I don’t believe the polls. On Election Day—on primary day back in March in my state, in Michigan, that morning, I turned on the TV. All the national polls had Hillary beating Bernie by anywhere from eight to 22 points. Twelve hours later, Bernie defeated her. Ever since then, I’ve said, “Man, these polls, I don’t trust it.” Do not trust it. And I think they’re probably undercounting the Trump support.
AMY GOODMAN: Because aren’t they counting people who voted in the last election, the most likely voters?
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: And a lot of people who are outside the system don’t vote when they’re disenchanted.
MICHAEL MOORE: That’s right. And the disenchanted, the anger—the angry voter is coming out next Tuesday. And where I live—you know, usually the election is the first week of November. This is the second Tuesday of November. It’s a rare second Tuesday election. And the second week of November in Michigan, it’s called winter. The chance of there being two feet of snow in Ohio or Pennsylvania or Michigan or Wisconsin is great. And what that means is a low voter turnout. It’s already going to be low, because people are fed up with the choices. Right? So we’re already going to have a low turnout. Who wins in a low voter turnout, Amy? You know, the person who has the most rabid supporters. I would not call the supporters of Hillary Clinton rabid. You know, people—if you ask people how they’re voting, like out there—I was out there—I was talking to one of the people in your office. “So, who are you thinking of voting for?” “Meh, I’m going to vote for Hillary.” I said, “Wow! There’s a ringing endorsement. ‘Well, I’m going to vote for Hillary.’” You know, the support for her seems to go from “Yeah, I’m voting for Hillary,” all the way to “Yeah, screw it. I’m voting for Hillary.” You know, it’s like, phlllgggh, we’re going to win with that?
AMY GOODMAN: Well, you—you take a very different tack. And let’s go to yet another clip—
MICHAEL MOORE: OK.
AMY GOODMAN: —from Michael Moore in TrumpLand, where you address concerns about Hillary Clinton’s, well, lack of trustworthiness.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes.
MICHAEL MOORE: What are the other knocks on Hillary? Not trustworthy. Right? We hear that a lot: She’s not trustworthy. How did she prove her distrustworthiness to you? Did she promise to water the plants for you while you were gone and then didn’t? No, I’m not talking about differences of—I mean, well, she flip-flops of whatever. Well, everybody changes. Everybody evolves. I hope they do. Right? We want our Trump voter friends in here tonight—we’re asking them to maybe change. If you just stay in cement, it’s like—OK, so she’s learned. She was against—she fought gay marriage, and then she was for it. Well, I’d rather that than staying against gay marriage. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. She said her Iraq War vote was wrong. She’s never done anything more wrong than that. OK, it’s not exactly “I’m sorry,” but that’s pretty—OK, she’s a politician. I accept that. What else? What else? What are the other knocks on Hillary?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Benghazi.
MICHAEL MOORE: Benghazi. OK, Benghazi, yes. She got up in the middle of the night and personally planned, with ISIS, which she and Obama created—according to Trump, they invented ISIS—and they planned this attack to kill our people there at the consulate in Benghazi.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Cleared six times!
MICHAEL MOORE: Oh, she’s been cleared of the charges six times. That’s not enough! You have to be—if you’re Hillary Clinton, you have to be cleared eight times.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Clinton Foundation!
MICHAEL MOORE: Oh, the Clinton Foundation. Well, thank God there’s a Clinton Foundation. Look at all the good they’ve done. You know? I mean, and if what they say is true, and so they get to have a meeting with Hillary, and what’s their meeting—she’s still Hillary Clinton. It’s not like they get to go in there and say, “I need you to bomb—I need you to bomb Yemen.” “OK, how much did you give the Clinton Foundation?” “I gave the Clinton Foundation $50 million.” “Call in the airstrikes.” That’s not what’s going on.
AMY GOODMAN: Michael Moore in TrumpLand. So, do you think you reached the people who you want to make not just don’t want Trump, but want to be enthusiastic about Hillary?
MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, this is not a film that is spending an hour and a half bashing Trump. There’s nothing more I need to say about Trump. You already know everything about him. I did want to say why I’m going to vote for her. And I’ve never voted for her. I have huge political disagreements with her, obvious—the obvious ones: the war, too cozy with Wall Street, etc., etc. But, you know, there are also these things about her that I think are pretty decent and good, and they never get talked about. And, you know, no person is just one way. And, you know, one of my hopes—and I address Hillary directly in the camera during the piece here, hoping she’ll see this, because I want to tell her that we’re hoping that she will be something better than what we’ve seen in the past. And I am hoping that that is what will happen. Now, I may be a cockeyed optimist here. I am fully aware she’s a politician, and she’s a Clinton, and all of that. But I also—there’s too much at stake here at this point.
And, look, we live in a country—Canada has five political parties for 34 million people. We have two, two parties that are treated like parties. We need to have three and four and five political parties to represent the broad spectrum of political thought amongst 320 million people. We have to fix the system. And we have to commit to doing that. We say this every four years, then we forget about it, and then we get, you know, two more choices and what I used to call the evil of two lessers. And we’re all tired of this, and I think we need to—we need to fix this. We can’t fix it by Tuesday. So, I think I’m willing to accept that we had a decent enough victory with where we brought the country with Bernie Sanders and what he had to say and how people took to it. We’re going to build on that. The Bernie revolution will continue. And I think that—you know, we’re not being asked to vote for Margaret Thatcher here. All right? I mean, we’re not being asked to vote for Sandra Day O’Connor or Clarence Thomas or whoever the first or the token is that’s presented to us as always just some awful choice. You know, this—she’s not—she’s not that. And, in fact, I think she stood for a lot of good. And in the movie, I tell the story about, with healthcare, what she tried to do back in the ’90s.
AMY GOODMAN: Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, his new film, Michael Moore in TrumpLand. We’ll come back to our conversation in a minute.
AMY GOODMAN: “Howlin’ Shame” by Adia Victoria, here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we continue our conversation with Michael Moore, the Academy Award-winning filmmaker. His newest film, Michael Moore in TrumpLand. He talked about Hillary Clinton’s stance on healthcare, something he knew well from making his documentary Sicko, which dealt with the failures of the U.S. healthcare system.
MICHAEL MOORE: I made Sicko, and I studied and remembered how she was vilified and attacked because she wanted to put forth the idea that every American should be able to go to the doctor and not have to worry about going bankrupt. And she pushed for that back in ’93, and she had her head cut off, and she was told to go back in the White House, be the first lady and shut up. And it was brutal. It was—do you remember this? And it was—
AMY GOODMAN: Many people, though, also said she—as with under Obamacare, that she wouldn’t include people who were true advocates for real healthcare reform, single payer, Medicare for all.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, right, because she didn’t understand the politics of how, when you want to make something like that happen, you have to—it has to work from the bottom up, not the top down. And had she aligned herself with grassroots activists and all that—yeah, her strategy wasn’t good. That was just her own naiveté with it. Then, when she became a senator, she took money from the pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare companies and all that, and she wasn’t that same person anymore. So, now, I appeal to her, if she’s elected, to do the right thing.
AMY GOODMAN: You met her.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes, well, I was invited to the White House for a dinner when Bill was the president. And I tell the story in the film about my evening there at the White House. And I’ve met her a couple of times since, too, just in—you know, being in New York here, you’re at events or whatever. And I have to say, I’ll tell—I don’t know. Have you ever met her? Have you ever been in the room with her, or—she’s actually very personable and very nice and funny. She’s got a great sense of humor, that you otherwise wouldn’t normally see.
AMY GOODMAN: Have they asked you to go out on the campaign trail?
MICHAEL MOORE: Oh, God, they want nothing to do with me.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, wait, talk about what happened at the White House.
MICHAEL MOORE: Oh, the White House?
AMY GOODMAN: Yes. You met her and Bill together.
MICHAEL MOORE: I met them together and—
AMY GOODMAN: This was when?
MICHAEL MOORE: This was in 1998. It was actually the night before his impeachment. All right? So he looked like crap. So, they announce you coming in the room, and, like, the person before me is a marine, is a marine in dress uniform. “Mr. President and Madam First Lady, the chairman of General Electric Jack Welch.” So, he’s in front of me, right? So he walks in there. And we’re told, “You have five seconds, shake their hand, say something nice, and get the hell out of
there.” So he does his grand grip with them.
“Mr. President and Madam First Lady,” the marine is going, “Uh, Michael Moore?” And so I walk in there, and I shake his. And he goes—he grabs my hand, and he goes, “Michael Moore? Oh, I’m you’re number one fan. I just love—I love TV Nation. It’s just—I love that show. I remember that one episode you did where you went to Idaho, and you”—and he’s like literally recounting an obscure episode. And I’m thinking, “These Clintons are really good.” Like, he’s got a story for everybody in line here. “And then Roger & Me, and I’m just your number one fan.” And at that moment, she grabs my hand out of his hand, and she says to him, “No, you’re not. I am his number one fan.” And she takes my hand and grips it, and she goes, “I just want to thank you, that what you wrote in that chapter in your book”—my first book. This is in—like at that time, in the ’90s.
AMY GOODMAN: Was this Downsize This?
MICHAEL MOORE: Downsize This.
AMY GOODMAN: Wasn’t this your love letter to Hillary Clinton?
MICHAEL MOORE: It was a chapter called “My Forbidden Love for Hillary.” And I just felt so bad on how she was being treated. And she was being mocked for what she wore and her hair, you know? Because she’s a woman, so she gets this whole—all this shade thrown at her. And we didn’t call it “shade” back then, by the way. And anyways, so she’s like, “I just—I really thank you for—and that first line in that chapter?” And my face was like turning red, because, I mean—you know me a little bit. If people knew me, I am kind of a shy person. And my face was turning red. And the line was—and you may have to bleep this, but it was “Hillary Clinton. She’s one hot [bleep]-kickin’ feminist babe.” And she said, “I really like that, what you wrote and what you said about me on The Today Show.” And at this point, they’re trying to like—her aide is like—the aide thinks I’m holding up the line, but she won’t let me go. And, anyways, then I say little joke afterwards. But basically, yes, that was my first encounter with Hillary Clinton.
And it’s, you know, not a similar thing with Al Gore, but I met him, finally, like three years after he won—I mean lost, I mean won, I mean lost. I was in Nashville giving a speech, and he heard I was there, and he invited me over for breakfast the next morning. And I went over to his house. Tipper and Al are cooking me eggs and bacon. And I sit there for two hours talking to them. The guy was so funny, so personable—the opposite of what we saw. And I couldn’t help myself. At the end of the two hours, I said to him, “Al, how come we didn’t see this guy? Why did we see the stiff? Why didn’t we see—why didn’t you be yourself?” And he goes, “I know. I know.”
AMY GOODMAN: Well, for all of this, Michael—
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to what you said about Bernie Sanders, when you first endorsed him.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes, yes.
AMY GOODMAN: You said, “Hillary says Bernie’s plans just aren’t ‘realistic’ or ‘pragmatic.’ This week she said ‘single payer health care will NEVER, EVER happen.’ Never? Ever? Wow. Why not just give up? Hillary also says it’s not practical to offer free college for everyone. You can’t get more practical than the Germans—and they’re able to do it. As do many other countries. Clinton does find ways to pay for war and tax breaks for the rich. Hillary Clinton was FOR the war in Iraq, AGAINST gay marriage, FOR the Patriot Act, FOR NAFTA, and wants to put Ed Snowden in prison. THAT’S a lot to wrap one’s head around, especially when you have Bernie Sanders as an alternative. He will be the opposite of all that. There are many good things about Hillary. But it’s clear she’s to the right of Obama and will move us backwards, not forward. This would be sad. Very sad.”
MICHAEL MOORE: Mm-hmm, yeah. And then she had to run against Bernie for all those months, and she had to start changing her tune. And she had to start agreeing with him, because she wasn’t going to win. You know, even with all their cheating at the DNC, even with all their superdelegates, there was a chance he was going to pull this off. So she had to either—either get with the program—in other words, where the majority of Americans are at. The majority of Americans want universal, single-payer healthcare. The majority of Americans, you know, want a paid maternity leave. They want free college for their kids. Go down the whole list. The American people agree with Bernie Sanders, not Hillary Clinton. So, in order for her to pull that off, she either had to start agreeing with the majority of Americans, and his presence pushed her and pushed her and pushed her toward better positions to take.
Now, we could sit here and say, “Well, that, Mike, that’s all they are—positions.” Well, you’re right. We won’t know what she’s going to do until she’s in there. So, the onus really is on us. On November 9th, if she’s elected, on November 9th, the next day, do we—whether it’s the Bernie revolution, whether it’s the Green revolution, you know, whoever it is, do we get active right away and make sure that she does the things she says she’s going to do? Or do we do like we did after Obama got elected? Because after there was this big revolution to elect a man, whose middle name was Hussein—and we got him elected, right? And it was young people that got him elected, largest turnout in history of 18- to 35-year-olds in that election. And he will say that, too, that it was the youth vote that made this happen. You know, are we going to sit back? Because we sat back. And what happened a month after Obama was elected? He appoints Timothy Geithner as the Treasury secretary and Larry Summers as the economic head. You know, it’s like, oh. Do you remember that feeling? And it’s like, “Oh, jeez.” And nobody got active. Nobody stayed active. And there was a silence during those two years when we had the House and the Senate.
And that was a mistake that we, the people, the grassroots, didn’t stay active and stay on his case. We didn’t—instead, he goes up to Capitol Hill, and he’s all kumbaya with these guys, the Republicans, he wants to get along. Not unusual, if you had read his book. That is who he is. He wasn’t phony. That was who he is. But we needed somebody with some boots on that was going to go up there and kick some butt and get some things done, and he didn’t do that. And we—we—were silent. And we didn’t—we got active, right? After we lost the House and the Senate then two years later, what happened the next year? Occupy Wall Street. What happened a couple years after that? Black Lives Matter. So, movements then began, during the Obama years, that now are thriving today. Whether we call ourselves Occupy Wall Street or not, we changed the whole dynamic here, and the American public understands the 1 percent versus the 99.
AMY GOODMAN: So, Michael, as people are making their decision who to vote for, and it may not just be between Trump and Hillary Clinton—of course, there’s a Green Party, there’s a Libertarian Party—but it’s also about whether even to go out to vote.
MICHAEL MOORE: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to get your response to Glenn Greenwald, now of The Intercept, discussing Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes, OK.
GLENN GREENWALD: One of the most notable parts of Clinton’s approach to foreign policy that has gotten relatively little attention is that one of the few areas where she has been openly critical of President Obama has been by complaining that he’s been insufficiently militaristic or belligerent or aggressive in a number of areas, in particular, in Syria, where she criticized him in her book and then also in various interviews for not doing enough in Syria to stop the Syrian dictator, Assad, from brutalizing the Syrian people. She has advocated—Secretary Clinton has—a no-fly zone, which could lead to military confrontation with Russia, who’s flying over Syria. And then Michèle Flournoy, in an interview, made clear that she not only believes in a no-fly zone, but also more active boots on the ground in Syria, American boots on the ground.
And given that the Russians are already there, that there is ISIS there, that there are al-Qaeda elements, that there’s still a civil war ongoing, it would be extremely dangerous to involve the U.S. further in military involvement in Syria. And yet, you have President Obama, who himself has been very militaristic—he has bombed seven predominantly Muslim countries in the last seven years—and yet Secretary Clinton’s critique of his foreign policy is, in every case, that he’s not aggressive enough, he’s not militaristic enough. And in Syria, in particular, they seem to really be itching to involve the U.S. a lot more directly and a lot more aggressively in that conflict.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Glenn Greenwald. Michael Moore?
MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, thank God for Glenn Greenwald. Yes, I’ve said the same thing. I mean, she is a hawk. She is to the right of Obama. That’s—that’s the truth. So, for us to prevent whatever war she might be thinking of getting us into, we’re going to have to be active. We have be that way. We should be that way all the time, no matter who is in the White House. But we’re being given this awful choice on Tuesday of which war do you want—the war Hillary’s going to start or the war Donald J. Trump’s going to start? You know, because one of them is going to be the president. So—and I resent—
AMY GOODMAN: Donald J. Trump just said that it’s Hillary Clinton who’s going to bomb Syria, and that Putin doesn’t like her, and that proves that Hillary Clinton is a mess.
MICHAEL MOORE: Donald Trump, trust me, we can’t even imagine the kind of conflicts he’s going to get us into. This is a 12-year-old narcissist that is going to be sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office, with a very thin skin and a lot of hate in him. You know, I guess I’m—yes, we’re being asked to pick a certain poison here, or, you know, that old exercise of, you know, you’re in a lifeboat, and there’s only room for one more, and it has to be either Hitler or Mussolini.
AMY GOODMAN: But you say it’s not that choice. In your film, it’s not just pick your own poison.
MICHAEL MOORE: No, that’s right. That’s right. I’m not—I am not a proponent of scaring people into voting for Hillary as that’s the only reason. Most of her ads now are about scaring people, instead of just saying what she’s positively going to do. And she’s going to do a number of positive things. And we need to be there. The revolution, the Bernie revolution, the Green revolution, needs to be there to support her when she does the right things and to challenge her when she doesn’t. And I say in the film that, you know, if she doesn’t do this, we can’t wait like we did with Obama. We have to be active, and we’re going to run somebody against her in the next election. And we’re going to run people in the midterms that are not her, that are going to oppose her, Democrats that will oppose her in Congress. We’re going to have to do that. Our work is not over after Tuesday.
AMY GOODMAN: And the fact that the Republicans are saying the minute if she is elected, they will be investigating her, and they’re talking about possible impeachment?
MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, well, they’re always going to behave like Republicans. You know, the thing is, the difference between her and Obama, she’s not going to go up there and hold hands with them. She’s not going to go sing “Kumbaya.” She’s not going to try to find the great compromise, you know? She’s like—she is a woman of my generation. I mean, I’m in the second half of the baby boom, she’s in the first half. And, you know, I don’t know where you fall. You’re way too young to be in any baby boom. But I’m just saying, if you know or you have friends that grew up in this era, she knows what she’s been through as a woman in this society. She has not forgotten this. And I don’t—I can’t see her signing a single piece of legislation that’s going to say, “We, the government, have control over your reproductive organs,” you know, or something that’s going to hurt children or something. So I think these are—you know, we need Glenn, we need The Intercept, we need you. I should keep making movies. You know, all of us are going to have to do our thing.
AMY GOODMAN: Except you say that you may well be what? Running in 2020?
MICHAEL MOORE: If I—I said I will offer myself up. If she goes back on what she says she’s going to do, if she doesn’t adopt the two-thirds of Bernie’s positions that she said she’s going to do, then either I or Kanye will run in 2020.
AMY GOODMAN: Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, his new film, Michael Moore in TrumpLand. It’s playing in theaters now. It’s also available on iTunes and Amazon.