Star Jones has known both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for roughly the same amount of time — since the mid ’90s. After delivering a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last week, the TV personality spoke to Variety about why she’s siding with Clinton over the Donald.
What did you think of Hillary’s speech?
I thought it was wonderful. I knew there were huge expectations being built around the speech, and she had to knock it out of the park or people would have seen it as a failure. Not only did she rise to the occasion, there was substance in it. There’s always substance behind what she has to say.
Did you get emotional watching it?
I cried the whole entire time. I understand from my parents who were watching at home, that there were a couple of crowd shots. I had no concept of it, because I was very much in the moment. As a professional woman in the 1980s, I was a young female lawyer at the time dedicated to public service. I really did look to other women lawyers for my inspiration. I have to tell you the legend of Hillary Rodham was front and center in my circle. All I can say to everybody is: Please watch your feet, watch your step. There’s about to be glass all over the floor, when we break the ultimate glass ceiling.
Do you think she will win?
I absolutely know it with every ounce of my being. It’s going to be bruising, vicious, and nasty. But the one thing I know about Hillary, when they go low, we go high.
There were some comments on Twitter that she should have been smiling more during her speech. Do you think that’s sexist?
You don’t hear it when it comes to a male candidate. You don’t hear about what color suit they wear. I’m not looking for Hillary to smile, giggle, and hold my hand. I’m looking for her to be the leader of the free world. When I watched what the RNC did the week before, I almost got depressed. It was doom and gloom. It was divisive and non-inclusive. At the DNC, we had over 1,000 delegates of color. When you look around the room, it looked like America. Joining me at the convention was my guy and his son, who has become like my own kid. At 11, he knows that the president of the United States can be a black man and now a woman. Isn’t that amazing?
How did you first meet Hillary?
When President Clinton ran the first time, I became involved then and that’s my first real encounter personally with Hillary. And then I continued to become very involved in Democratic politics. We established — I don’t want to exaggerate and say “friendship.” I want to say a relationship, a mutual personal connection.
You also knew Donald Trump.
I had been close to Donald’s first wife, Ivana. I still am. We have served on numerous charitable boards together. We travelled together, had lunches and dinners together. I’ve known their children for their entire adult lives. I don’t recognize Donald Trump right now. I don’t know if this is who he’s always been. Or, more than likely, this is who he has calculated is the right thing to be at the right time, which makes it even sadder.
Do you think it could all be an act?
If it’s not an act, it’s vile and offensive. If it is an act, it’s vile, offensive, and manipulative. You pick. I’ve never seen anything like this.
Will you continue to campaign for Clinton?
Not only throughout the fall, throughout her presidency. She’s going to be the 45th president of the United States.