Tags: Donald Trump | Hollywood | Love-Hate | Tryst | Trump

Hollywood's Love/Hate Tryst With Donald Trump

Image: Hollywood's Love/Hate Tryst With Donald Trump

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By    |   Wednesday, 17 Aug 2016 02:16 PM

When Donald Trump was fresh off his campaign announcement, he made a special appearance at a dinner for "Friends of Abe" — the select, private group of conservatives who live and work in famously liberal Hollywood.

That Trump had made Los Angeles one of his first campaign stops spoke volumes.
After all the star and producer of the smash hit "The Apprentice," was one of Hollywood's own.

Held at a posh hotel in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles, the FOA event drew hundreds of film and TV directors and producers, along with well-known actors.

Ann Coulter sipped martinis with the star of a popular sitcom. Nearby, one of the biggest actors of 1960s television chatted with a standup comedian famous for his appearances on late-night television, according to insiders who spoke on the condition that Newsmax not reveal names.

After all, being outed as a conservative in Tinseltown could be hazardous to your career.

Trump's advisers figured if he could woo this crowd of underground conservatives who held sway over pop culture, he might actually win the nomination. And they were right.
Several attendees say they switched allegiances to The Donald that night. Some needed nudging, which Coulter provided by dining out with entertainment-industry heavyweights, including Clint Eastwood.

But with three months before the general election, Trump still has some wooing to do. Hollywood's love affair with him is far from unanimous.

Take David Zucker, writer and director of "Airplane," "The Naked Gun" and other comedy films. Zucker has been making humorous videos on the internet skewering liberals, including presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, though he hasn't made any that support Trump.

"I'm waiting to hear what Trump stands for," Zucker told Newsmax.

Likewise, FOA member Ben Shapiro remains, so far, a "never-Trumper," (though sometimes he modifies his position to "never-say-never Trumper") and he says so frequently on his radio show in Los Angeles and as a pundit on Fox News.

"In Predator vs. Alien, I choose no one," Shapiro told The Hollywood Reporter. "Hollywood and New York brushed a bunch of stripper glitter on this guy, and now they find him sexy."

Dave Berg, who used to co-produce "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," where he booked Trump as a guest more than a dozen times, told Newsmax he is "easing into" voting for him.

"Trump was always very nice in the green room at NBC," said the FOA member who initially supported Marco Rubio. "But now he needs to stop acting like a thug on the campaign trail."

Based on dozens of interviews with Hollywood conservatives, the consensus is that they'll rally 'round The Donald.

Mark Vafiades, an actor and chairman of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County, told Newsmax that conservatives are coalescing around Trump. "He's one of us," Vafiades says. "And we think he wants to do the right thing."

There have been a few fundraisers in the Hollywood area for Trump, but entertainment executives and celebrities aren't attending in large numbers. Producer-writer-director Lionel Chetwynd, a co-founder of FOA, tells Newsmax that Hollywood likes to wait until the last moment to openly support a Republican.

"As it becomes more apparent this is a history-changing event, it will be hard to sit out," Chetwynd said.

Chetwynd said he would vote for Trump because he's better than the alternative. But that was before Trump's campaign shakeup, messaging problems, and August dip in the polls. Unless Trump can demonstrate an ability to stay on message, those factors may make it harder to rally Hollywood's conservatives behind his candidacy.

In fact, the controversy over Trump's candidacy, and California's brutal GOP primary battle, may have led to the April announcement that FOA leaders would disband their organization.

Other members of the group have expressed an interest in reconstituting the organization under new leadership.

Comedian Evan Sayet, who was a consultant for Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign, invokes the TV show "24" when pleading Trump's case to Hollywood conservatives who aren't on board yet.

"In a terrorist scenario when you don't have a lot of time, you need Jack Bauer to break some rules," says Sayet, the author of "The KinderGarden of Eden: How the Modern Liberal Thinks."

"A lot of us don't think we can afford four years of Hillary Clinton, so we will side with Trump over the much bigger enemy."

No one in Hollywood jumped on the Trump bandwagon sooner than Robert Davi, best known as the bad guy in "Goonies" and "License to Kill." He says he gets angry at the notion Trump isn't conservative enough.

"The never-Trumpers are stupid not to support him. It shows you how self-serving they are," Davi said. "Who are they to assume the mantle of conservatism?"

Like Chetwynd and others, Shawn Steel, the RNC representative for California, suggests more of Hollywood's rich and famous who lean right will eventually voice their support for Trump.

"If there's ever been a time for a celebrity or entertainment mogul to come out of the closet as a conservative, it's this year," Steel told Newsmax. "Yes, it can be suicidal in Hollywood, but people like to hang out with winners."

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When Donald Trump was fresh off his campaign announcement, he made a special appearance at a dinner for "Friends of Abe" - the select, private group of conservatives who live and work in famously liberal Hollywood.
Hollywood, Love-Hate, Tryst, Trump
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Wednesday, 17 Aug 2016 02:16 PM
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