Have I finally reached the age when all my childhood crushes start betraying me based on their political views? Because it kinda feels like that, especially with Matthew McConaughey asking Hollywood to embrace President Trump. Yeah, that’s a thing that’s happened in the past 24 hours.
McConaughey’s comments were part of an interview done for his movie Gold on Channel FI in the U.K. The interview aired Sunday, Jan. 29 in the U.K. during the rather tumultuous weekend with fallout from Trump’s immigration ban. It’s unclear when the interview was recorded (if it was done around the time of the immigration ban, curiosity causes me to wonder if McConaughey’s statement would be the same), but the message is clear: Trump is our president. We gotta get over it.
During the interview, McConaughey was asked whether he felt it was time that “Hollywood and the cultural elite gave this guy a break.” Yeah, my blood pressure is kind of rising too. That question is misguided in itself: phrasing like “cultural elite” implies that one certain group of people or kind of person is inclined to dislike Trump, a thing we know is not true. Trump’s policies have affected and instilled a fear in a great many people’s hearts and minds, not just the “cultural elite.” But I digress.
McConaughey’s reply was jarring, to say the least. “Well, they don’t have a choice now, he’s our president.” But wait. Before you sigh so hard you faint, you should at least hear the man out. Surely it can’t get worse, right?
Wrong. “[I]t’s time for us to embrace, shake hands with this fact, and be constructive with him over the next four years. So, even those who most strongly may disagree with his principles or things he’s said and done — which is another thing, we’ll see what he does compared to what he had said — no matter how much you even disagreed along the way, it’s time to think about how constructive can you be. Because he’s our president for the next four years. At least.” Why are you intent on hurting me, McConaughey? Do you think this is a game? Do you?
Listen, I get the whole “Let’s come together in unity” argument that’s been floating around since Trump was elected. I may not wholeheartedly agree with it, but I understand the merit of it. However, a few things are shocking about McConaughey’s statement. The first: Is McConaughey really doing this right now? The man whose cultivated a celebrity persona as a laid-back and loving, deep-thinking bro with a heart of gold? Yeah, that’s going to take a minute to sink in.
It’s also very interesting that an older white heterosexual man is coming forward with this viewpoint. I mean, McConaughey’s not alone: Mark Wahlberg told us to accept Trump’s win weeks ago (don’t get me started). Both men come from great positions of power and they give off more traditional, all-American vibes in their interviews. On the surface, they would fall into the perceived Trump demographic. While they’re not on record explicitly endorsing him, these kinds of comments to embrace Trump, accept his win and quit griping can give the wrong impression.
Frankly, it’s misguided on McConaughey’s part to say this. As good-natured a man as he is, the fact that he would ask Hollywood to embrace him — an industry that is so ideologically opposed to and vocal about their dislike of Trump — is kind of like slapping someone in the face with a brick. It hurts, it’s mean and why the heck would you do it when you know it’s hurtful, dude? To ask for Hollywood to unite and, by extension, ask America to unite under Trump when he is acting so fundamentally in opposition to the office of president right now is a gobsmacking statement.
McConaughey has every right to voice his opinions, and luckily, they’re not the most extreme things he could have said. However, there’s no doubt in my mind the shine has dulled a bit on McConaughey for these comments.