Despite rising to prominence as a countercultural icon of the ’60s and ’70s, with roles in films like Midnight Cowboy and Coming Home, canvassing for George McGovern, and publicly protesting against the Vietnam War, Oscar winner Jon Voight has, in recent years, morphed into a right-wing fomenter. He’s lashed out against the American public for criticizing then-President George W. Bush, narrated a video for Sarah Palin that aired on John McCain’s presidential campaign site, branded President Obama a “false prophet,” and makes the occasional appearance on Fox News. But this is, without question, his most politically puzzling move yet.
Last week, the actor released a statement exclusively to the pro-Trump propaganda site Breitbart News endorsing the real estate heir for president of the United States.
“I, Jon Voight, can say, without hesitation, that Donald is funny, playful, and colorful, but most of all, he is honest. When he decided to run for president, I know he did it with a true conviction to bring this country back to prosperity. He is the only one who can do it. No frills, no fuss, only candid truths,” said Voight.
“I am very disappointed at the talk show hosts, also spewing out lies and propaganda against Donald,” he continued. “Why, I wonder? The only thing I can think of is he represents a form of freedom none of them ever saw before, and they are bewildered about it, and frightened about it.”
Voight neglected to point to any of the so-called lies and propaganda being spread against Trump, though one doesn’t have to look far to see why people are turned off by the blustering tycoon. He has a long history of racist behavior—allegedly forcing the black employees at his Trump’s Castle hotel and casino to be hidden when he and Ivana arrived, calling for the execution of the Central Park Five, branding Mexican immigrants to the U.S. “rapists,” requiring considerable public pressure to reject the support of ex-KKK leader David Duke (Trump’s daughter Ivanka, by the way, is Jewish), and of course his rallies, where black people have been assaulted by his disciples. But The Donald has an even lengthier—and deeply unsettling—history of misogyny. And one of his frequent targets over the years has been Angelina Jolie, the daughter of Voight and Marcheline Bertrand.
In 2005, Trump appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, where he took a random shot at Jolie, declaring flatly, “Angelina Jolie is not beautiful.” When O’Brien asked him how he could think that, the cotton candy-haired mogul replied, “Well, that’s why they have menus at restaurants.” The following year, he appeared on Howard Stern and rated the Oscar-winning actress a “5,” before bashing Jolie’s looks—again. “I never thought she was good-looking. I don’t think she’s got good skin. I don’t think she’s got a great face. I think her lips are too big, to be honest with you, they look, like, too big.”
Months later, in October 2006, Trump went on CNN’s Larry King Live, where he chose to weigh in on Voight’s troubled relationship with his daughter. “Well, look, number one, I know her father. Her father is a nice guy. I think she treats him like a dog but maybe they have some kind of a thing,” said Trump. “I think he’s a great actor and she just treats him terribly. She’s been with so many guys she makes me look like a baby, OK, with the other side. And, I just don’t even find her attractive. That has nothing to do with why I said it though.” He later added, “But I’m not a fan of hers, as you probably noticed.”
He appeared on Larry King Live one year later, in 2007, and again went after Jolie for no apparent reason.
“Angelina Jolie is sort of amazing because everyone thinks she’s like this great beauty,” said Trump. “And I’m not saying she’s an unattractive woman, but she’s not a beauty, by any stretch of the imagination. In terms of beauty, she’s not a great beauty. She’s a nice-looking woman. She’s OK. But she’s not a great beauty.
“I really understand beauty,” he added. “And I will tell you, she’s not—I do own Miss Universe. I do own Miss USA. I mean, I own a lot of different things. I do understand beauty, and she’s not.”
During that same interview with Larry King, Trump criticized the way Jolie acted at the 2001 Academy Awards, kissing her brother James Haven on the mouth—and conflating the incident with the 2000 MTV Movie Awards, where she claimed to have had sex in a limo with her then-husband Billy Bob Thornton on the way to the ceremony. (Truth-telling isn’t exactly Trump’s strong suit.)
“I remember at the Academy Awards a few years ago she was frenching her brother. She was giving her brother lip kisses like I never saw before in my life. And she had just said she made love to Billy Bob Thornton in the back of the limousine on the way over,” Trump said. “And I wouldn’t want to shake her hand, by the way.”
It’s pretty remarkable that Donald Trump, of all people, considers himself an authority when it comes to family. This is a man who’s made creepy statements about his own daughter, after all, was once accused of “rape” by his first wife, Ivana, whom he cheated on while she and their three children were at church.
“By 1987, during services at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, Trump was secretly romancing [Marla] Maples as he found ways to temporarily ditch Ivana and their kids, Donny, now 19, Ivanka, 15, and Eric, 13,” wrote People.
Jolie, on the other hand, seems to have had good reason to be angry with her father, who’s repeatedly gone to the press with their relationship problems. In addition to cheating on her mother and leaving the family when Jolie was just a year old—leaving her and her brother to be raised by their mother—after Jolie legally had “Voight” stricken from her name in 2002, he gave an interview to Access Hollywood of all places, where he demanded that she seek help for unnamed “mental problems” and shared intimate details about her alleged past struggles with mental illness. This interview, by the way, occurred just one month after she filed for divorce from Thornton, and a few months after they adopted Maddox from Cambodia—thereby jeopardizing the adoption process.
The entire family—Jolie, her brother James, and her mother Marcheline—became estranged from Voight following the interview, and Jolie didn’t appear publicly with her father again until 2010. They’ve since reportedly reconciled, though it remains to be seen how she feels about his endorsement of frequent critic Donald Trump.
Given Jolie’s status as a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, one can’t imagine she’s a fan of Trump’s xenophobic “ban all Muslim immigrants to the U.S.” stance. Her child, Shiloh, certainly isn’t.