We speak with Michael Moore, the Academy Award-winning filmmaker behind “Michael Moore in TrumpLand,” “Fahrenheit 9/11,” “Bowling for Columbine” and “Sicko.” Now, Moore has added theater production to his list of accomplishments with his debut play, The Terms of My Surrender. He launched the production with the question, “Can a Broadway show take down a sitting president?” and lays out a roadmap of what he believes needs to happen next.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. We spend the rest of the hour with the Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, the person behind Michael Moore in TrumpLand, Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling for Columbine, Sicko, Capitalism: A Love Story and Where to Invade Next. Now Moore has added theater production to his list of accomplishments. He’s now starring in his theatrical debut on Broadway, his play, The Terms of My Surrender. He launched the production with the question, “Can a Broadway show take down a sitting president?” In typical Michael Moore fashion, the one-man show infuses humor as he examines the 2016 election, speaks with special invited guests, lays out a roadmap of what he believes needs to happen next. This is a clip from a recent performance of The Terms of My Surrender. In this one, he speaks to, oh, actress and activist Rosie Perez.
ROSIE PEREZ: We have to resist, and we have to just march and shut him down. And I think that the way to do it is the same way that America shut down Trumpcare, is not just go to the White House, but go to your local and state elected officials, because they really have a lot of power. And a lot of people don’t understand that. You know, if you put pressure on them, they will cave. You know, Trump may not, but they will cave.
MICHAEL MOORE: Right.
ROSIE PEREZ: And—
MICHAEL MOORE: They want to keep their jobs.
ROSIE PEREZ: They want to keep their jobs, and they want to keep their paychecks and their free healthcare. So—it’s true, though.
MICHAEL MOORE: Ladies and gentlemen, Rosie Perez!
ROSIE PEREZ: Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: Yes, that is Rosie Perez, Puerto Rican actor and activist, speaking with our guest, Michael Moore, who is now starring in his Broadway debut, The Terms of My Surrender. He came into our studio right before his matinée performance on Wednesday, and I just asked him, well, the question he opens with: What kind of a Broadway show can take down a sitting president?
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes, I think, actually, anybody watching this can do this. I really believe in the power of a few people can make huge change happen. And I talk about this in my show, that history is full of examples of people who really changed the world, not accepting the lie that they were told all their lives, that they were just a nobody from nowhere. And so, I believe—I believe in that.
And I believe—so, yes, so I’m on—you know, I’ve come from Michigan to New York to do the show. I come from the Brexit states out there. And I wanted to—I wanted to do this in the city that gave us Donald J. Trump. I mean, basically, I’ve come to the belly of the beast here. And we do the show 12 blocks from Trump Tower every day.
AMY GOODMAN: Didn’t you take a bus there?
MICHAEL MOORE: We took a bus—yes, one night, we thought we’d go over and have some cheesecake or a tortilla bowl or whatever it is that he—the KFC, whatever he loves, we were going to like have some dinner with him, but he said he wasn’t hungry.
AMY GOODMAN: So, what are the terms of your surrender?
MICHAEL MOORE: Well, now, if I told you that, what’s the point of coming to the—it takes me two hours to explain that. I can’t. But, well, basically, none of us are going to surrender. I mean, the actual terms are pretty extensive. And it’s not just getting rid of Trump. I mean, we have—we have to take a look at how we got Trump. He didn’t just fall out of the sky. He’s the end result of decades of both dumbing down the country but also the widening gap between those with wealth and those who work to provide the wealth for those who are rich.
AMY GOODMAN: We just were—
MICHAEL MOORE: It’s also—yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: —interviewing Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace Prize winner from Bangladesh, talking about—he thinks it’s now five men own more wealth than half the world’s population.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, yeah. Isn’t that amazing?
AMY GOODMAN: Right? Three-point-six billion people.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah. So, he’s the kind of natural result of this. It’s not some crazy accident, the way I look at it. And, in fact, he’s the result of a racist clause in the United States Constitution. So, this is—that Electoral College concept of trying to convince the slave states, as you know—you’ve talked about it on the show—to come into the country, the new country, we put this clause in there that let them count slaves while giving them no power, really. And so, he benefited from that. But the show isn’t—I mean, it’s not a history lesson. It’s not a college lecture. Well, I mean, you’ve seen it. So, it—
AMY GOODMAN: The show is spectacular. And you are constantly responding to whatever the latest is, which is happening every day. So, on Sunday, you raised the fist in honor of Colin Kaepernick?
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes, right. Well, I’ve been wearing Colin’s jersey and the 49ers hat here for well over a year ago, since he first did that a year ago, last summer. And I participate in the NFL boycott. I don’t watch any NFL games. I encourage people to boycott the sponsors of the NFL. The owners colluded to keep him from his job this year because he took a stand. What’s real—so this past—so, a few Sundays ago, I got the whole audience, we all stood with these signs, hashtag #ImWithKap. And I put that out on the internet. But this Sunday, I wore the jersey, his jersey, the whole show. And the whole audience, or most of them, raised the fist there with me on the stage.
But what was interesting about this past Sunday—I just want to say this—is that it became more against Trump than about the original idea of what Colin was saying, which is that we have to take a stand against this brutality of police killing unarmed black citizens. And that’s how this originally started. And the owners punished him for that. And it was supposed to send a message to the rest of the players: “Don’t you take a stand. Don’t you speak out politically.” After Trump said what he said, then all—it was clear all the players were all going to participate.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to go—
MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: —to that moment Friday night, Huntsville, Alabama. This is what Donald Trump said at his rally.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!”? Wouldn’t you love it?
AUDIENCE: U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, “That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.” And that owner—they don’t know it. They don’t know. They’re friends of mine, many of them. They don’t know. They’ll be the most popular person for a week. They’ll be the most popular person in this country, because that’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for, OK?
AMY GOODMAN: As he talked about firing these “sons of bitches,” Colin Kaepernick’s mother said, “Guess that makes me…”
MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah. Well, I’m not going to say it, but, yes.
AMY GOODMAN: One proud one.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah. No, that Trump—see, this is what—this is what bothered me, though, about Sunday, is that we think that he’s easily distracted by, you know, the shiny keys, whatever it is. You know, there’s this awful thing going on with the tragedy in Puerto Rico, and he’s completely consumed with the NFL. And so we think that’s—you know, that’s how simple he is and where his mind goes. But I think and I’m worried that we’re the ones distracted by the shiny keys, because as soon as he made such a big deal about it, then the protest shifted from what it’s really supposed to be about—stop shooting black people in this country, police of America—and now it was all about Trump, and now the owners joined in. They all joined. And once—you know, I think a lot of the players, especially the white players—”Well, now I’m not going to lose my job, if the owners are going to lock arms with us.”
But then, the whole point—and I thought, “Jesus, he’s really—Trump is really good with this, with this sort of—the way we just jump to the next thing.” You know, something really important is going on every single day in his administration, where they are poisoning this country, where they’re selling off lands to oil companies. Whatever it is, it’s going on as we speak right now. And we, all of a sudden, and especially the mainstream media, gets focused on what he said about, you know, Joe and Mika in the morning. It’s just like the whole rest of the news cycle is all about Mika, and it’s not about what it should really be about.
AMY GOODMAN: But when he does the attack and goes after someone—of course, with these players, we’re talking about largely African-American teams.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes, right.
AMY GOODMAN: And he’s attacking African-American players.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: You respond, as so many people do. And how critical it is. He may create the situation—
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: —but then it has to be responded to.
MICHAEL MOORE: And then we have to point out, and I think—and a lot of the players have pointed out—remember, this isn’t about—really about Trump. We’re doing this against the racial injustice, the racism that still exists in our society and how safe it is to be a black man in our society when it comes to the police pulling you over or whatever. And I think nobody wants that to get lost in all this discussion.
AMY GOODMAN: So, I want to go then to Puerto Rico, the critical point, right?
MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: He tweets however many times, 15 times over the weekend—
MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, right.
AMY GOODMAN: —about the NFL and fire them and cursing. Not once did he tweet about Puerto Rico. And I want to talk about the catastrophe, climate catastrophe, there. Took him five full days to respond to the plight of Puerto Rico over the weekend. Right, 17 times about athletes, and again, protesting police violence. Facing withering criticism, on Tuesday he holds a news conference congratulating himself for his response to the disaster. I think he repeated nearly a dozen times that he was doing a great, amazing, tremendous, incredible job, and denied he had neglected Puerto Rico. This is what he said.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I wasn’t preoccupied with the NFL. I was ashamed of what was taking place, because, to me, that was a very important moment. I don’t think you can disrespect our country, our flag, our national anthem. To me, the NFL situation is a very important situation. I’ve heard that before, about was I preoccupied. Not at all. Not at all. I have plenty of time on my hands. All I do is work. And to be honest with you, that’s an important function of working. It’s called respect for our country. …
The governor of Puerto Rico is so thankful for the great job that we’re doing. We did a great job in Texas, a great job in Florida, a great job in Louisiana. We hit little pieces of Georgia and Alabama. And frankly, we’re doing—and it’s the most difficult job, because it’s on the island. It’s on an island in the middle of the ocean. It’s out in the ocean. You can’t just drive your trucks there from other states. And the governor said we are doing a great job. In fact, he thanked me specifically for FEMA and all of the first responders in Puerto Rico. And we’re also mentioning with that the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was devastated. So we are totally focused on that.
AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s President Trump. Instead of “Heck of a job, Brownie,” it’s “Heck of a job, myself.”
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes. And, Amy, “It’s an island. You know it’s an island, don’t you?” And he went on to say, too, “There’s a big ocean. There’s a big ocean there between us.” It’s like—I’m convinced he has no idea where Puerto Rico is. All he knows is that the people there are not white. And that’s why it’s not a priority. And let’s just be honest and say, you know, how his mind thinks.
And, you know, the way that he and others, too, focus on—you know, when they talk about these NFL players, who, as you say, are 70 percent African Americans, and how much they make and how—they keep saying this: “Look how much—they’re not grateful to this country. Look how much they make. Look how much they make.” You will never hear anybody complain about what Tom Hanks makes. You know? You will never—it’s just—it’s always a little tell that it’s just “Wait a minute. Wait a minute. We let you in the club, boy. Behave yourself.” You know, that’s really the message. And that message was right there about Puerto Rico, “By the way, did I mention the Virgin Islands?”
It’s like, you know, it’s still—like, see, I even—we laugh, but now—see, we used to laugh at him, especially New Yorkers. You know this, because you guys were supposed to take care of him for about 40 years and make sure he wasn’t foisted on the rest of us. I’m not putting you personally responsible for this, Amy, but I’m just saying, if Donald Trump came from Flint, Michigan, I couldn’t show my face on this show, because how could I explain that I, for 30 or 40 years, you know, didn’t do something about him there, before he would be thrust upon this country? But he is—he’s not a joke. And the time to sort of—laughing about this has to be, hopefully, long, long gone by now, because we are in very serious trouble here. And anybody who doesn’t think he could be a two-term Trump is living in their little fantasy bubble. The Republicans are not going to impeach him. They’ve already polled their gerrymandered districts back home. They’re pretty sure they’re safe. They don’t think we can flip those 24 seats in the House next year and three in the Senate. And all he has to do is keep his base, which he seems to have pretty well intact, and win those same electoral states. So, we have a real fight on our hands here.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, you were the one who did predict all along—you took him very seriously, comedian that you are, from the beginning. You said this man has a real chance, even as the Hillary Clinton folks were saying, “We want to run against him.”
MICHAEL MOORE: I know. And, you know, those of us, like in Michigan and Wisconsin, we kept trying to get a hold of people at the headquarters in Brooklyn, you know, another New York city. I mean, seriously, you couldn’t get through the bubble in Brooklyn to say, “Would you please come out to Wisconsin and Michigan?” I mean, I voted for Bernie. I was for Bernie. But she lost Wisconsin and Michigan to Bernie. If you lost your own primary—in other words, your people didn’t want you to be president—wouldn’t you kind of maybe show up there sometime before the last week of the general election? It just—it was mind-boggling how—the poor judgment that took place around her.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Michael Moore. And I want to turn right now to, you know, the white supremacist rallies that have taken place, after what happened in Charlottesville, and President Trump.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it, either. And—and—
REPORTER 1: But only the Nazis—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And—and if you reported it accurately, you would say.
REPORTER 2: One side killed a person. Heather Heyer died—
REPORTER 1: The neo-Nazis started this. They showed up in Charlottesville. They showed up in Charlottesville—
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me.
REPORTER 1: —to protest the removal of that statue.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They didn’t put themselves down as neo—and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group—excuse me. Excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park, from Robert E. Lee to another name. …
I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group, other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, OK? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers. And you see them come with a—with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats. You’ve got a—you had a lot of bad—you had a lot of bad people in the other group, too.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s President Trump talking about the “very fine people” in Charlottesville, the white supremacists. We’re talking about the Ku Klux Klansmen in Boston. Forty thousand people turned out to protest a small group of people, because they were so horrified. You tell the story in The Terms of My Surrender about your experience as a young man going to Bitburg because President Reagan did. Could you share that story here?
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes. Well, I was—it came on the TV. I was in a bar with some friends in downtown Flint, Michigan, and Reagan announced that he was going to Bitburg to lay a wreath on the graves of SS Nazi soldiers to honor them, in Bitburg, Germany. And nobody—people were confused. Why are you—why would you want to honor Nazis? And let me just say—this is a side point here—thank God we’ve never had another president since Reagan that was so enamored with Nazis.
But so, a friend of mine, Gary, both of his parents were survivors of Auschwitz. And we decided to go to Bitburg to confront Reagan in the cemetery. And we made up some fake press credentials. Gary spoke fluent German. I spoke fluent bull—well, BS. And we were able to get into the cemetery. We snuck into the cemetery and waited for Reagan to get there. And then we whipped out this banner that said “We came from Michigan to remind you they killed my family.” And the German cops jumped us immediately, ripped the banner out of our hands. This is—
AMY GOODMAN: But wait, there was some media there.
MICHAEL MOORE: Oh, yeah, there was a lot.
AMY GOODMAN: Which you had managed to get right next to.
MICHAEL MOORE: Well, yeah. Well, I saw Pierre Salinger standing over there. And he was working for ABC at the time, and he was President Kennedy’s press secretary. So I just went up to him, and I said, “Mr. Salinger, my friend and I, we’re from Flint, Michigan. We’re not press.” You know, like he couldn’t tell.
AMY GOODMAN: Though you had press badges.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes, we had the badges. “We’re going to do an action here, when Reagan gets here, but we’re afraid the Germans are going to hurt us. And if you could have your camera there? Because I think the last thing the Germans want today is footage going out across the world of them beating a Jew in the Bitburg cemetery.” And Salinger was like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ll help you. Sure, sure, sure.” And so, he had his camera right there. And I think that—because the cop that had grabbed me already had his club up over my head like he was going to come down with it. And he saw the—he turned, and he saw the lens of Pierre Salinger’s camera right there. And he goes, “Aaaarrgh, aaaarrgh,” and he puts the billy club away, and I didn’t get my head cracked open. So, then they just hauled us out of there. They put us in the back of a truck and just hauled us out of there.
AMY GOODMAN: So this was shown all over the world. This—
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes, yes. We were live on ABC. And yeah, because it was—yes. If you remember, at the time, if you’re old enough, if you saw that, it was quite—people just couldn’t understand why Reagan was wanting to lay a wreath on Nazi graves. But like I said, fortunately, we’re through that kind of president, and that won’t happen again.
AMY GOODMAN: You’ve been taking on these issues, from white supremacy, Ku Klux Klansmen, racist violence, for quite some time, right back to high school, another story you tell. But your story of the Elks Club?
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes. Well, I had gone to—I was selected to go to Boys State, which is where you go to play government for a week. Every high school, at least in Michigan, sent five girls and five boys to Girls State and Boys State. And you elect a girl governor and boy governor and a state legislature and all that. It’s to teach you how to run a campaign. And I didn’t want anything to do with it, and so I just stayed in my dorm room the whole time—except I saw a poster one day that said “Speech contest. Write a speech on the life of Abraham Lincoln and win a prize here at Boys State, sponsored by the Elks Club.”
And my dad had just gone to join—it’s 1971. He had just gone to join the Elks Club. And he got there, and they gave him an application form, and at the top of the application form it said “Caucasians only.” This is the '70s. It's still legal. The 1964 Civil Rights Act, there was a loophole that allowed—racial discrimination could continue if it was a private group or a membership organization. So, back then, for instance, you have “the Friends of Democracy Now!,” whatever. If you were a member of Democracy Now!, you could actually—you could actually racially discriminate, as long as you were a private membership group. And I just stood there, and I’m thinking, “They’re sponsoring a contest on the life of Abraham Lincoln, this whites-only organization?” So I went and wrote a speech back in my room. I showed up at the contest, I gave it, and I won the contest. And then I had to—
AMY GOODMAN: An Elk wasn’t choosing?
MICHAEL MOORE: No, there was no Elks there. It was like a speech teacher. And the whole thing was slamming the Elks for doing this, and slamming Boys State: Why are you having these racists here at this, you know? Then I have to give the speech the next day at the boy governor inauguration. And there was—I had to sit next to the head Elk, who’s got big antlers coming out of his hat and a trophy in his lap that he’s going to present to me at the end of the speech. And I’m just thinking, “Oh, no, this is not going to end well.”
And so, I gave the speech. And I turned and looked at him, and he’s just all beet red. His face is so angry. And I just said at the end of the speech—I just looked at him, and I said, “And I don’t want your stinkin’ trophy!” And the whole place erupted in applause. I ran off the stage, because I was worried he was going to hurt me. And from that, that very night on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, because it was out on the wire services that I did it, they did the story. And then it’s in the media for the rest of the—
AMY GOODMAN: You refused to talk to them.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, they wanted me to come on, but now I was really—I know this is hard to believe, but I was really shy—a really shy kid. You know that a little bit about me, don’t you? Kind of? You know, on a personal level, I’m a very—like this, you know. And back then, I was worse. And so I didn’t go on—I didn’t go on the CBS Evening News, but they did the story anyways. And it caused this uproar all over the country. And we had a great, very liberal-left U.S. senator from Michigan named Philip Hart. And he called me, and he said, “I want to introduce a bill to fix this loophole in the Civil Rights Act, and I want you to come down and testify.” And I’m like, “No, I’m not”—you know, I just told him my parents won’t let me leave the house. So, I didn’t go to D.C. to testify. But hearings were being held all over the country. A federal judge takes away the tax-exempt status of the Elks Club. And they start getting hit with all this stuff. Liquor licenses were being pulled from their clubs. A big hullabaloo. And a year and a half later, the Elks and all these private groups are finally forced to accept all Americans into their organization regardless of the color of their skin.
And it was such a lesson to learn at the age of 17—a dangerous lesson for me—that you could effect change by doing just a little tiny thing. And again, it was just what I said at the beginning here, is how we—you know, we’re told from the time we’re kids that we really—you can’t fight City Hall. You know, why knock your head against the wall? It’s not going to do anything. That’s the big lie. That’s the big lie, that we’re nobodies from nowhere and we can’t effect change. The truth is, is that we’re all somebody. We’re all from somewhere. And the thing that the wealthy elite establishment is afraid of is that if we ever figure out that there’s more of us than there are of them, they’re in big trouble. They know that, because the thing they must hate about this country—the rich—is it’s still—at least on paper, you know, in spite of the voter suppression, in spite of the gerrymandering, it’s still one person, one vote. That hasn’t been changed. So, and there’s only so many of them. There’s a hell of a lot more of us. And if we take that power in our hands, they’re in a boatload of trouble.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think there are a lot more woke folks now?
MICHAEL MOORE: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Look what happened the day after Trump’s travel ban. He announces this the week after his inauguration. The next day, tens of thousands of Americans—there was no organization to this, no leadership, no call for a demonstration, none of this. Just people, on their own, showed up at their local airport. Whether they lived in Hays, Kansas, or out at JFK, people just poured out to the airports with home-made signs against the travel ban. It’s a week—that was one week after the women’s marches all over the country, all over the world. No, I’ve been very hopeful in the sense that a lot of people have come alive, and nobody is going back to bed.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to The Terms of My Surrender. This is the part—it’s a one-man show, but you’ve got this part where you talk to someone. And this is musician and activist Tom Morello.
TOM MORELLO: Trump is a curse, or Trump is a gift. This is my hope, is that he’s a gift, is that he brings into existence the movement that not only dethrones him but the movement that makes a more just and decent America—
MICHAEL MOORE: Right.
TOM MORELLO: —that doesn’t play by the Democratic Party rules, no business-as-usual rules. Like, let’s not aim to lose anymore. Let’s aim for the world we really want, like a world of equality, of freedom, of justice, where every single kid has an education, not just here, but everywhere, has an education and a chance, where you don’t got to be afraid of being, you know, blown up by a drone in the Middle East or being killed by a cop here in the United States of America. Let’s make the list of the things we really want, and fight for those—
MICHAEL MOORE: Right.
TOM MORELLO: —rather than take what they hand us.
MICHAEL MOORE: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: And this is actor and comedian—this is another night—Hasan Minhaj.
HASAN MINHAJ: I’m a Muslim. And Republicans and Muslims, we have a lot in common, if you think about it. The same people that want to ban me, we actually are very similar. We were both kind of born into our ideology. Right?
MICHAEL MOORE: Right, right.
HASAN MINHAJ: You ever go up to a Republican and be like, “Why do you believe that?” Like, “I don’t know. I was born into it.” But it’s stupid. “I don’t know. Mom and Dad do it, so I do it.” We’re passionate about things we haven’t read.
MICHAEL MOORE: Right.
HASAN MINHAJ: And every few months, a [bleep] psychopath hijacks our ideology. So, we’re very—we’re actually very similar.
AMY GOODMAN: So there you have Hasan Minhaj and, before that, Tom Morello. I mean, what’s this experience been like for you? It is your Broadway debut. It’s your life dream, Michael.
MICHAEL MOORE: Well, yes. I mean, it’s something I wanted to do for some time. And I’m in the middle of making my next film. I’m bringing my TV show back to network television—
AMY GOODMAN: So, this is called?
MICHAEL MOORE: —in February. The show is—it’s going to be on Turner, on TNT, starting in February. It’s called Michael Moore Live from the Apocalypse. And the movie, that will be out in late spring, is called Fahrenheit 11/9, and—the day, you know, after the election. And so, that’s—yeah, so I’m trying to every—
AMY GOODMAN: How are you doing it all?
MICHAEL MOORE: Well, I don’t have a choice. None of us have a choice. We all—we have to do everything. We are in the French resistance. Everybody has to have that attitude, that, you know, you’ve got to get the kids to soccer practice, but the kids can walk, for the next year, 'til we get rid of Trump. You know, you've got couples therapy at 4:00. You know, get along with your spouse for just one more year. We have to got to get rid of Trump. I mean it seriously. I hate to put it this way, but we—I just—you know, I have a fire lit under me, I guess. And I’m doing whatever I can do. And I think people watching this are doing what they can do. And we just have to reach out and continue to get more and more people involved in this.
You know, 'til he's gone, we have to at least discombobulate him, to the point where he’s so obsessed about all the things that are going to keep him from focusing on the really bad things that he’s going to do. He will take us to war. We will be in a war with this man. And when we—you know, when that happens, I need everybody watching this show, listening to us on the radio—I need everybody to commit that we have to stand up immediately. Don’t even stop to think. If Trump is taking us to war, you have to automatically assume this is an insane idea from an insane man, it’s a lie we’re being told.
My fear is that the so-called liberal establishment, the Democrats—29 Democrats in the Senate voted to let Bush invade Iraq. The New York Times got behind the war in Iraq. Judith Miller, they put stories on the front page that weren’t true. The New Yorker magazine ran an editorial the week—I think it was the week before the war, saying that this—we should do this. These are the—our liberal establishment has to be called into question here, and not—we have to not follow them if they do that again. And in the show, I actually play a couple of clips of the night Trump bombed Syria, that Syrian airfield. Right away on MSNBC and on CNN, people were waxing poetic about “Trump is now the president.”
AMY GOODMAN: We’ve got Brian Williams right here—not in the studio, but the clip of Brian Williams, the night that the U.S. bombed that air base, when he was—
MICHAEL MOORE: Oh, yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: —quoting Leonard Cohen.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean. I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen: “I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons.” And they are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making what is for them a brief flight over to this airfield. What did they hit?
AMY GOODMAN: So that’s MSNBC’s Brian Williams, not Fox. And this is CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.
FAREED ZAKARIA: I think Donald Trump became president of the United States. I think this was actually a big moment, because candidate Trump had said that he would never get involved in the Syrian civil war. He told President Obama, “You cannot do this without the authorization of Congress.” He seemed unconcerned with global norms. President Trump recognized that the president of the United States does have to act to enforce international norms, does have to have this broader moral and political purpose.
AMY GOODMAN: The media has been calling President Trump a liar, but when it comes to war, they circle the wagons around the White House. Why?
MICHAEL MOORE: Liberals—”liberals”—and Democrats often are afraid of being accused of being wimps or weak, weak-willed, not strong, not pro-America. And so—and so they’re so eager to just hop on, so nobody questions their patriotism. This is what has to be avoided this next time here with Trump, because I’m afraid that they will—they’re the same people, so they’re going to be—I could write the New York Times editorial right now endorsing Trump’s war. The first 11 paragraphs will criticize him for being an awful president, in perfect Times speak, and then the last paragraph will tell us why this is a—this, though, is a just war.
And, you know—and you look back at that time. Bill Keller writing a column in favor of the war, was then the—became the editor of the Times. Nick Kristof attacking me on the day that Fahrenheit 9/11 was in theaters, saying, “Michael Moore is bad for us. You know, our side, we we don’t need the Michael Moores because he calls—he calls Bush a liar.” You know, Kristof says, “You know, yes, Bush stretches the truth, but to call him a liar, Michael Moore sounds like those Republicans who said Bill and Hillary killed Vince Foster.” I mean, that’s the kind of attack that I got from the so-called liberal press, because I stuck my neck out at the beginning of the war and said this was a lie, and when the war started, I didn’t hop on board like I was supposed to. When Bush had his 70 percent approval rating, the war had a 70 percent approval rating, I, the Dixie Chicks, you, Chris Hedges, Bill Maher, others who stuck their necks out, we went through—I don’t know if you’ve ever discussed this, but, you know, those of us who were not going to shut up took a lot.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to this minute, which was you on the Oscar stage, 2003. It was—
MICHAEL MOORE: The fifth night of the war.
AMY GOODMAN: The fifth night of the war. And this is when you won an Oscar for Columbine, Bowling for Columbine.
MICHAEL MOORE: We like nonfiction. We like nonfiction, and we live in fictitious times. We live in a time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons, whether it’s the fictition of duct tape or the fictitious of orange alerts. We are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush. Shame on you!
AMY GOODMAN: That was a remarkable moment. You’re on the world stage. You have a global audience. Get a lot of offers after that.
MICHAEL MOORE: Ha! No. Right after that, the studio that was going to fund my next film canceled it. That was the best thing that happened to me, because everything else was one death threat after another, day after day. People started assaulting me on the streets. I’ve spoken to you about this before. And then, you know, I mean, people coming at me with various weapons. I had to have bodyguards. It was awful. But I think it wasn’t just because the hate people on radio and Fox and whatever were—you know, O’Reilly, one night, said on his show, “I’m usually against the death penalty, except for when it comes to Michael Moore.” You know, that—
AMY GOODMAN: You’re on Broadway now, and he’s no longer at Fox.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yes, I didn’t think of it that way. Hmmm. But, well, you know, I—listen, the people that listen to those shows got permission from the O’Reillys and the Glenn Becks and the Limbaughs that it was OK to harm people like me and the Dixie Chicks and others. I’m still here. So I got through all that.
But this next time when we go to war, and he—I will say this again: Trump will take us to war. He’s out there in Bedminster, New Jersey, you know, last month, threatening “fire and fury.” You know, I mean, I ask the audience every night, “Can we all just agree that no good idea has ever come out of Bedminster, New Jersey?” I mean, just no offense to the town. I’m just saying that’s not where you start a nuclear war.
If Trump says that North Korea suddenly is the enemy, and we have to—do not believe this. Do not go to war. Unless you see North Korean troops marching through that arch down in Washington Square Park, or if a friend calls you from the vegan section at Chelsea Market and says, “There are North Koreans marching down the aisle grabbing all the vegan food,” OK, then maybe—maybe. But still, question it. Question it. Do not follow along with the liberal New York Times, with the liberal commentators—the so-called liberal—the Democrats in the Senate who won’t stand up.
As we sit here right now doing this interview, not a single Democrat in the U.S. Senate has called for his impeachment, has stood up on the floor and said, “I demand the impeachment of Donald Trump.” Not one Democrat can say that yet in the Senate. There have been a number in the House—Maxine Waters and others—but nobody in the Senate. This is—the people that are supposed to be representing us still don’t have the spine that’s going to be needed to fight Trump and to make sure we don’t have a two-term Trump.
AMY GOODMAN: And you don’t think the woke folks in the streets, the people who marched in Boston, the NFL players—
MICHAEL MOORE: That has to continue. It has to continue and not stop, because, remember—
AMY GOODMAN: —can stop them?
MICHAEL MOORE: Remember, a month before the war started in Iraq, New York City, how many were in the streets? Wasn’t it like a half a million? Or—
AMY GOODMAN: I mean, millions rocked the world for peace that day.
MICHAEL MOORE: And around the world, it was millions. And then the war started, and people around the world still protested, but here the protests shrunk. People started to be quiet about it. That can’t happen this time. Everybody—everybody off the bench. Everybody in the pool! Seriously, this is—this is it. This is it. The line has been drawn, and we’re not dealing with a joke here. This is a person hell-bent on keeping his base white America, the 64 percent of white guys that voted for him. We talk about how the majority of white women, but remember, two-thirds. Every three guys, white guys, you see out on the street, two of them voted for Trump.
AMY GOODMAN: You don’t think the country will take the knee against war?
MICHAEL MOORE: I’m hoping. I’m hoping we will. I’m hoping people will. I’m hoping they will not follow. But that night, when he just—all he did was fire some missiles into Syria, and everybody’s like [drums on table]. You know, Fareed, Fareed Zakaria, he’s a good guy. He’s a smart guy. He’s a—why would you say what you said, what you—that clip you just showed? You know, Van Jones said a similar thing about he’s become president. It’s like no, stop. Stop. Everybody—everybody has to stay together. Talk about locking arms at a football game? We all have to lock arms here, or Trump is going to lead us down a path we may not be able to recover from.