Daniels is currently starring in “To Kill A Mockingbird” on Broadway.
Appearing on the openly anti-Trump MSNBC network on May 20, Daniels tried connecting the moment Atticus Finch and his daughter see one of their neighbors among a group of KKK members who came for them, to Trump supporters in the middle of the country.
Daniels says that Finch defends his neighbors, calling them “good people,” but said Finch was actually “an apologist” and “an enabler.”
— Brent Baker (@BrentHBaker) May 20, 2019
“And I think there are people in the Midwest, between the coasts, who don’t know anything about this, who don’t care about this, who don’t have any time for this, who have to make a decision now,” Daniels said.
“You have to decide whether, like Atticus, you believe that there is still compassion, decency, civility, respect for others—‘do unto others,’ remember that?—all that stuff you guys believe in, and you still voted not for Hillary or for Trump. Where are you now?”
Daniels then made the claim that if Trump was elected again in 2020, it would be “the end of democracy.”
Without citing evidence, the former “The Newsroom” star then said Trump supporters are racist.
“‘A mob is a place where people go to take a break from their conscience,'” he said, quoting from “Mockingbird.”
“That’s what I see when I look at Donald Trump’s rallies, that’s when I see the lies he’s spewing at these people, and people going, ‘I gotta believe in something,’ and he said he’d bring my manufacturing job back and she didn’t, and I’m all in.’ But … at the end of the day, it’s race. It’s race.”
It wasn’t clear what he thought of the Trump supporters who voted once or twice for former President Barack Obama, a sizable portion of the swing that got Trump elected, as outlined in the book “The Great Revolt.” Trump’s rallies also have a number of minority attendees, including Hispanics.
A number of people reacted to Daniels’ claims, including on Twitter.
“I hear not only Jeff Daniels voice, which is clear, unbending and strong. I hear of the voice of Aaron Sorkin who reworked ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ to be more current, more electric, and up-to-date. I agree with those words. Anyone who doesn’t has sold American down the river,” wrote one user.
“Have not seen anyone capture this moment in time better than @Jeff_Daniels to @NicolleDWallace on @DeadlineWH. It’s not only what he says, but how he says it. Not as a celeb. As a guy from Michigan,” wrote another user, a former Hillary Clinton staffer.
“Voters voting is the end of democracy? Isn’t that the core of democracy?” wondered another.
Voters voting is the end of democracy? Isn’t that the core of democracy?
— Robert Nelson (@RobertNelson23) May 21, 2019
“Fear mongering at its best,” said another.
“I wonder what these people would do when [Trump] wins again,” said another.
“Hyperbole to sell the gig. No, it just means a certain segment of the population didn’t get what they wanted,” said another.