Ben Affleck was fond of the Obama administration. He is not so fond of the Trump administration. Or of Trump the man. In a profile with The Guardian, Affleck recalled an encounter with the president-elect at a party, and it wasn’t a fond memory.
“I met him once at a Fashion Week event in Milan. You knew you were at a cheesy party if Donald Trump was there. He would kind of trawl around them.”
Trump, who was a huge figure in the entertainment world before his turn as a politician. Many famous people have their own stories about Trump and his miscalibrated social skills.
“[Donald Trump] was famous for only granting permission for films to shoot on his real estate locations if they put him in as a cameo,” said Affleck. “The director Marty Brest told me he’d had to create a whole hand-shaking scene in Scent of a Woman where Trump comes out of the door and goes, ‘Hey! Donald Trump, nice to meet you,’ as he bumps into Al Pacino. The ego was there a long time ago.”
Affleck, who is a longtime vocal progressive, is critical of Trump’s rhetoric around the immigration issue.
“I spent five months in London [last year] and I have to say the Brexit vote smacked of the same kinds of things I heard here,” Affleck said. “People whose overarching political agenda is that immigrants are ruining things for us or immigrants are getting one over on us somehow, taking advantage. In London, it’s Polish people and here it’s Mexican Americans. I still believe in the basic goodness of people, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going through a spell where we’re in thrall to some ugly ideas and ugly notions.”
Affleck once famously locked horns with Bill Maher and Sam Harris on Maher’s HBO show Real Time. After Maher inveighed against Islam, accusing it of being the most violent religion, Affleck exploded. “It’s gross, it’s racist, it’s disgusting. It’s like saying, ‘Oh, you shifty Jew.'”
Affleck joins the vast majority of celebrities, who have publicly or privately voiced their displeasure over the Trump campaign. In fact, Trump’s popularity was partially fueled by many Americans’ distaste for what they interpret as condescension from the “Hollywood elites.”
Donald Trump has not responded to the story. And it’s exactly the kind of thing he would respond to. Being called a fascist is one thing. But “cheesy?” That must hurt.