Jesse Ventura, the former pro-wrestling star and governor of Minnesota, says Donald Trump's plan to build a 10-foot-tall border wall to separate the United States and Mexico would echo the construction of the Berlin Wall in Germany.
"I live half the year down in Mexico, so you can tell I vehemently oppose … building a wall. Do people in this country really want to live in East Berlin?" Ventura said in an interview with Esquire.
"People need to remember something: A wall works both ways. Do we really want a country that looks like a prison? Ben Franklin had a tremendous quote when he said, 'Those of you that will give up your liberty for security shall have and deserve neither. Liberty is security.'
"We seem to be, 'Oh, take my freedoms, take my rights, just make me safe.' Well, I got news for you. Making you safe means you won't have any freedom. The only way to make you safe is to put you in a cell."
His comments revolve around the promise by Trump, the billionaire real-estate tycoon and presumptive Republican presidential nominee, to force Mexico to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent illegal immigrants from getting into the United States.
The Berlin Wall was a barrier that divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Its official purpose was to keep Western "fascists" from entering East Germany. It became the ultimate symbol of the Cold War.
Ventura, a Vietnam veteran and former Navy SEAL, feels that the anti-Mexico sentiment makes today's American politics resemble what was happening in Germany in the 1930s.
"What did [Adolf] Hitler do? He took one race and tuned them into the villains, where he got the people to blame them for all of their problems. We're blaming the Mexicans for all of our problems," Ventura said in the Esquire interview conducted by Luke O'Neil.
Ventura made the remarks as he promotes his new book, "Sh*t Politicians Say: The Funniest, Dumbest, Most Outrageous Things Ever Uttered By Our 'Leaders,"
' published by Skyhorse.
In a commentary piece published by CNBC,
Ventura also said he is supporting Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president.
"People are going to vote for Donald Trump because they don't want Hillary Clinton — and people are going to vote for Clinton because they don't want Trump. That's a horrible way to pick the next commander-in-chief," Ventura writes.
"[Johnson is] on the ballot in all 50 states, and this year I hope voters won't be lemmings. This is the year for a third party to rise, if there ever was one. This is the time for the people to stand up and say, 'We've had enough, and we're still in charge.' Whether voters exercise that option, we'll have to see."
Ventura said Johnson's assets include that he is "fiscally conservative and socially liberal — something neither Democrats nor Republicans can offer."
"He also has a solid plan for bringing our troops home and restoring our economy. And, like me, he's a firm believer that marijuana should be legal," Ventura said.
Before his career in politics, Ventura, whose birth name is James George Janos, reigned as Jesse "The Body" Ventura, a professional wrestler with World Wrestling Federation from 1975 to 1986. He also appeared in the R-rated sci-fi movies, "Predator," "The Running Man"
and "Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe."
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