The transcript of my long interview with Jon Voight from yesterday is posted. The audio is here and here. Here’s an excerpt on Voight’s view of the president and vice president:
HH: Let me read this quote from the Radar interview. “The war on terror is real,” you say. “People would have you believe it’s not real. This is not Vietnam. This particular situation is not the same wherein we can walk away and just leave destruction behind us. No, we can’t. Anyone who’s paid attention to what Ahmadinejad is saying, what all the mullahs are saying in this country, and in England, and all the Arab world, this is serious. They’re calling for the destruction of America and all democracy, and that’s what’s going on. We could lose this war.”
HH: What does that look like, losing the war?
JV: What does it look like? Well, you know, we’re dealing with a totalitarian…theocratic totalitarianism. This is like dealing with Hitler. I mean, we’re dealing with people who want to bring us down. We could lose it.
HH: And does that mean the end of the Republic? Does that mean a city in ashes? What’s…when you say that, what do you mean?
JV: Well, when I say what do I mean…look, we had 9/11, didn’t we? The damage that was done on 9/11 was extraordinary. Yes, two buildings went down and thousands of people, innocent people were incinerated. It was a horror. But not only did it send shock waves throughout our country, and traumatize us, it was economically hugely damaging to our country. And we had better know that something hitting our soil again could be even more successful. This is a dangerous time and a dangerous enemy.
HH: When Ahmadinejad says Israel will be gone in a flash, do you take him seriously that he might use a nuke if he obtains one? And should we allow him to obtain it?
JV: Obviously, he means what he says, and he’s spoken about the destruction of the United States as well. So he’s a serious enemy. We have to take him seriously. And he is going, you know, he’s going forward as fast as he can to achieve that weaponry.
HH: So the phone rings, and it’s George W. Bush, and someone sent him a transcript of this, and he says you think I should bomb them? They’re getting close. What do you tell him?
JV: Well, I think we’re…I think that we have a tremendous…this time is fraught with dangers, and we have to have responsible people in the White House and in our government. And I believe that our generals are capable, and I believe our President is capable.
HH: Now let’s turn to Bush. You said some nice things about Bush and the Vice President in Radar. Again, a lot of people don’t like this. You said, “The attack on George W. Bush I find to be reprehensible. I have great regard for our government. We have all sorts of checks and balances that are afforded us by our Constitution. We have a lot of hard-working people in the government. Once it gets to be partisan, it takes the energy in another direction.” You point out that they wanted to impeach Lincoln in 1864. What’s Bush’s reputation going to be in twenty years, Jon Voight?
JV: Well, you know, who knows? At this time, when you ask me a question like that, I’m reminded that I’m an actor. This is not my strong suit, but I would say in my little humble view, I think he will have a high place.
HH: Did you vote for him?
JV: I did not.
HH: You voted for Kerry?
JV: Oh, this last election, I voted for him, yes.
HH: Okay, but you voted for Gore?
JV: Yeah, I voted for Gore.
HH: And what has impressed you the most about Bush in the six and a half years he’s been in?
JV: I think this strength of character, his fortitude. I think he sees, he understands things, and I think he’s, by the way, I think he’s extremely gracious. When you seem him introducing Nancy Pelosi, or meeting with other members of Congress who are, who have set themselves against him. He’s always a gracious figure, he always speaks kindly and nicely of people. He never stoops to name calling or any of that. But he holds the line. He knows what has to be done, and he stays with it. He doesn’t seem to…I mean, you have to have extraordinary strength of character, I would say, but you know, to take the blows that he has taken in office, you have to have an extra reserve of strength, and he has it. It was one of the kids in Walter Reed said, and he was one of the fellows who said I’m not going back, I won’t go back. And almost everyone else to the man said I want to go back and be with my buddies, and if I can’t do the things on the field because of my injuries, they’ll find a place for me, and I’m very grateful for that. I’m going back, Jon. This fellow said no, I don’t think I’m going to go back. That’s it for me. I said well, what do you think about our President? And he said he is strong. This guy is a strong guy, Jon.
HH: What about the Vice President? You also refer to Cheney in this Radar interview.
JV: Well, I referred to an aspect that was, that people very little know, we see a certain kind of face on Dick Cheney. And people make jokes, and try to demean this fellow, but he’s got a great dignity, he’s very bright. And also, he’s very sensitive. He goes to Walter Reed every six weeks, and goes to every room. And when I see, when somebody talked about…people review a speech as if they would review a movie or something like that. They said well, his tie was this way, and he was looking around at this point, and I saw at the State of the Union, Dick Cheney’s face, and I know what he’s carrying in terms of the responsibility and his caring for this country and for those guys, too, and that’s what I see in his face.