The Oscar-wining doc-maker Michael Moore (‘Fahrenheit 9/11’, ‘Bowling for Columbine’) was talking in London on Thursday ahead of the release today of his new film ‘Where to Invade Next’, and warned: ‘There’s an excellent chance of Donald Trump becoming President of the United States’.
‘I said last autumn he’d be the Republican nominee,’ Moore told a lively press conference where he also shared his feelings on Brexit (he’s against), Jeremy Corbyn (he’s a fan) and Tony Blair (loathes him). ‘Trump knows how to manipulate a dumbed-down population, a nation whose schools are wrecked, whose media is insipid. He has record turnouts. He has huge rallies. It’s the twenty-first-century version of fascism. He blames the other and he wants to build a wall.’
Moore also challenged Trump’s central campaign claim that, if elected president, he’ll make America great again. ‘As great as when? As great as when, if you were black, or Hispanic, or a woman, or gay, you had to sit at the back of the bus?’
Moore, 62, recalled witnessing the elections of Ronald Reagan and George W Bush when he was a younger man, and says he’s less naive these days. ‘When I was 25, I thought there was no way my country would vote in an actor whose main co-star was a chimpanzee. When I was 45, I felt the same about Bush. Now I’m older and wiser and I’m fully aware my countrymen could vote for Trump as President.’
Moore, who has declared his support for the Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders, still thinks a strong turnout could stop Trump in November. ‘I don’t believe the majority of Americans agree with him. The good news is the math: 80 percent of those who can vote are women, people of colour or young adults under 25. Trump has done a massive job of alienating all three of those groups. It depends on who turns out to vote. If everyone turns out, no problem. The big problem is that you know the haters will definitely show up.’
Moore also turned his sights on Tony Blair, who he famously pilloried alongside George W Bush in his 2004 doc ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’: ‘The Brits, under Tony Blair, gave George W Bush cover to start the Iraq War.’
In his new film, ‘Where to Invade Next’, Moore tours Europe, visiting countries including France, Italy, Slovenia, Finland and Germany, playfully asking what the US could learn from Europe’s progressive ways. Not that he has anything positive to say about the UK.
‘This is a toxic place,’ he said of Britain. ‘This is a place that wants a two-tier medical system. This is a place that wants to put students in debt. This is a place that has elected a Conservative government and wants to leave the EU. I hope I’m not sounding offensive. We like a lot of things about you – like “Downton Abbey”. But this is a plea for you to be the Great Britain that we’ve known before. We’ve seen your greatness down the years.’
‘Where to Invade Next’ opens tonight with a satellite premiere and Q&A with Michael Moore beamed to 125 cinemas around the country. See www.wheretoinvadenext.co.uk/Q&A for details.