Back in November, while promoting his Oscar-nominated turn in the biopic Trumbo, Bryan Cranston seemed enthused by Donald Trump’s Twitter tornado of a presence in this year’s presidential election. “I think it’s great that Donald Trump is in the mix,” he told me. “He’s a maverick. He says what he wants to say, and it forces the other candidates to be more real, more honest, and more open.”
That was then—before his NRA endorsement, his statement that women should be punished for having abortions, his praise of Saddam Hussein, his “appreciate the congrats” reaction to the Orlando mass shooting, his #AllLivesMatter stance, his endorsement of Brexit, his performance art 60 Minutes interview, etc., etc. Now that Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee for president, the man formerly known as Walter White has seen the light, and it ain’t pretty.
“As real as that is, and it is since he’s the presumptive nominee, it’s still not real to me that a reality show host and supreme narcissist is going to be the president of the United States. I just don’t sense the reality of that, and I hope I never do,” Cranston tells The Daily Beast. “To me, it’s not a Republican thing and look at those Republicans—even though I am a Democrat—because I think our country is stronger when we are kept in balance when there’s a legitimate conservative candidate. I think that’s a good thing. I might agree with him or her, but it’s a good thing.”
Cranston, who is promoting his new thriller The Infiltrator—which he is superb in, by the way—further expounded on why he feels Trump is a potential hazard to the Oval Office, and, to quote his opponent Hillary Clinton, “temperamentally unfit” for the role of Commander in Chief.
“Now, the X factor is Trump. He’s an anomaly to politics and an anomaly to the human race, as far as I’m concerned. He’s just a bizarre human being,” says Cranston. “I don’t think that’s a statement that anybody can even argue. ‘Is he a normal human being?’ I don’t think anybody can say, ‘Yeah, he’s pretty normal!’ No! He’s very, very far away from normal. Even if you agree with him, he’s still far away from normal, and we need a president like our current president, who I believe has shown the qualities we want in a president: restraint, introspection, diplomacy, thoughtfulness, sensitivity, intelligence, not to be hyperbolic, to be presidential, to be respectful, and to be patient. President Obama has the qualities that anyone would want, and I think a President Clinton would have those qualities as well. But we know that Donald Trump does not have that. “To me,” he adds of Trump, “it’s just bizarre.”
Unlike the Republican debates, which Trump dominated by giving his opponents childish nicknames and defending the size of his hands (and penis), Cranston says that the Democratic debates—and the overall challenge from rival Bernie Sanders—was ultimately constructive, and helped mold Hillary Clinton into a better presidential candidate. “If you look at the debates with Bernie Sanders and Hillary, I think it was great for Hillary to have Bernie Sanders in the race. It made her a better candidate, a stronger campaigner, a stronger debater, and gave her some clarity on issues that she might not have been hyper-focused on,” offered Cranston.
“Bernie touched her and allowed Hillary Clinton to be able to say, ‘This is obviously an extremely important issue that we are now going to pay even more attention to than we have at this point.’ Having Bernie Sanders be a part of the dialogue and a part of the platform in the Democratic Convention is a good thing, and it also illustrates the differences,” he continued. “Having differences with your candidate is not a bad thing. We don’t expect a hundred percent agreement with our spouses or our children, so why would we expect a hundred percent agreement with a candidate? We’re human beings. We have different approaches and are not carbon copies of each other.”
Sanders, who recently gave a half-hearted, very Sanders-y endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president ahead of the conventions, did help steer her to the left when it comes to Wall Street, mass incarceration, and the minimum wage. With that being said, since the race is now down to Clinton and Trump, Cranston says he’ll be throwing his support behind Team Hillary, and also yearns for a more civil, less divisive political arena.“Fundamentally, I do agree with what Hillary Clinton presents as a platform, as a policy, as an agenda, and I do support her,” says Cranston. “But that’s not to point the finger at a Republican agenda or a conservative agenda and say, ‘They’re evil, they’re wrong, they’re villainous.’ They’re not. They love the country just as much as I do, and I think that’s a thing that we need to step away from. We need to step away from making enemies and villains out of someone who has a different ideology than yours.”“So when I meet those who are voting for Donald Trump, I don’t try to disprove their interests,” he goes on. “I’m curious how they came to that position. But I think this is incredibly important: I don’t want to disrespect anyone’s opinion. This is how they feel. But I would be very interested and curious to see how they came to this decision.”