Reprinted from "Game of Thorns: The Inside Story of Hillary Clinton's Failed Campaign and Donald Trump's Winning Strategy." Copyright © 2017 by Doug Wead. Reprinted by permission of Center Street/A division of Hachette Book Group. All rights reserved.
During the summer of 2016, public figures and entertainment celebrities began to pile on for Hillary Clinton.
On May 16, 2016, "Entertainment Tonight" ran the headline, "Jennifer Lawrence and Angelina Jolie Really Hate Donald Trump."
On July 7, Charlie Sheen was interviewed in "Extra" in a piece entitled "Charlie Sheen’s Unfiltered New Attack on Donald Trump." Sheen was now focusing on health, after recently revealing that he was HIV positive. He was the spokesperson for a new condom line.
On July 30, Christine Teigen tweeted about Trump, "I f****** hate him."
Kristen Bell, the star of "Veronica Mars," sent a personal tweet to Trump, "get ur head outta ur a**."
Meanwhile, Mac Miller, the rapper who had topped the charts a few years back with his single "Donald Trump," stopped by "The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore." "I only have one thing to say," Mac said. "I f****** hate you, Donald Trump."
In August, celebrities scattered all over the world spoke up. Robert De Niro was at a film festival in Sarajevo. "It’s crazy," he said, "that people like Donald Trump."
Promoting the movie "Suicide Squad" to an Australian news outlet, the actor Will Smith was upset with Trump’s language. He said his grandmother would be outraged if he said such things. "For a man to be able to publicly refer to a woman as a fat pig, that makes me teary," he said. "And for people to applaud, that is absolutely f****** insanity to me."
The entertainer Cher compared Trump to Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler. She was such a hit with the crowd that the Clinton campaign used her as a surrogate speaker."
When Neil Young learned that Donald Trump liked his music, he demanded that the billionaire businessman stop using it and then produced a video in which he appeared onstage, shouting, "F*** you, Donald Trump!"
The indie rock band Wavves banned all proponents of "All Lives Matter," as well as all "Donald Trump supporters" from their shows.
By July, even Donald Trump’s celebrity friends were turning their backs on him. Khloé Kardashian told people, "I didn’t care to do 'Celebrity Apprentice.' My mom made me do it. . . . I hated every minute of it. I’m like, ‘F*** you. I don’t want to do this.’"
In September, Barbra Streisand launched a verbal attack on Trump from onstage and told her audience that she hoped in a few months she’d be singing for the next President Clinton.
The comedian Chelsea Handler told The Daily Beast that a Trump win would be the end of civilization.
J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, said that Trump was worse than Voldemort, the fictional villain she had created in her Harry Potter books.
Win Butler, a musician in the band Arcade Fire, bashed Trump calling the businessman a "complete f****** nightmare and a clown and a joke," adding, "It really is an extremely important election. You don’t have to hang out with Hillary. But, Jesus Christ, vote for Hillary Clinton."
The celebrity talking points all seemed to reflect the same refrain. Trump was hateful, they said. He used foul language. He was racist. But communicating that message with hateful, foul, racist language was more effective to audiences in California and New York City than to audiences in the seven toss up states where Catholic and evangelical Christians would decide the election. It was more likely that those voters were being driven back into the Republican column by the well-intentioned but politically challenged celebrities.
Earlier in the year, the actor Richard Gere had compared Trump to the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Gere then made the extraordinary claim that electing Trump as president would be a "slippery slope" to deporting Jews and black people. Gere added, without any irony, that "intelligent people aren’t seeing this."
This was getting to Jared Kushner, the Jewish son-in-law of Donald Trump. His wife, the candidate’s daughter, Ivanka Trump Kushner, was also Jewish. He would be deporting his daughter? Where did this nonsense come from? "You can’t not be a racists for 69 years, then all of a sudden become a racist, right?" Kushner asked in bewilderment. "You can’t not be an anti-Semite for 69 years and all of a sudden become an anti-Semite because you’re running."
Parallel to the celebrity crusade, a Clinton surrogate effort was taking place on other fronts as well, academic, media, and political.
Stephen Hawking, touted as the smartest man in the world, called the Republican nominee a demagogue and said he "couldn’t explain Donald Trump’s political rise." He could explain black holes but not Trump.
The popular horror writer Stephen King said he was afraid of Trump.
The Hillary Clinton campaign boasted that "there are five living U.S. presidents. None of them support Donald Trump."
On November 4, 2016, a gaggle of celebrities gathered to create a video urging America to get out and vote. Referring to Trump as "garbage" and comparing him to Hitler, they sang, "Jesus f****** Christ / Holy f****** shit / you’ve got to vote."
"If this video motivates one person," the actress Rachel Bloom said, "especially in a swing state, to just get out there, then it will have been worth it. I just personally didn’t want to say I did nothing. I wanted to say I tried."
She certainly did.
Only days later, Donald Trump would win 81 percent of the White evangelical vote. At 26 percent of the electorate, it was the largest minority voting bloc in the country. He would win the largest percentage of the Catholic vote since Ronald Reagan.
Doug Wead is a presidential historian who served as a senior adviser to the Ron Paul presidential campaign. He is a New York Times best-selling author, philanthropist, and adviser to two presidents, including President George H.W. Bush. He is the author of "Game of Thorns: Inside the Clinton-Trump Campaign of 2016," which is due to be released on Feb. 28, 2017. Read more reports from Doug Wead — Click Here Now.
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