On Monday night, model-turned-actor Antonio Sabato Jr. — best known for his roles on “Melrose Place” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” — will take the podium in Cleveland, to stump for Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention. The 44-year-old spoke to Variety about his politics and why he doesn’t care if supporting Trump hurts his career.
How did you come up with your speech?
I had some help, writing with professionals. We went over where my passions are as far as why I’m here in the United States. I could have done it by myself. When you have a limited amount of time, you need some help.
Did the Trump campaign ask you to speak?
They reached out to me over a month ago, asking me if I’d be interested in doing something like this.
Why are you supporting Trump for president?
There are many reasons. One of them is you can’t vote for the other party. The Democratic Party has been demolished in the last 7.5 years. I trust that Mr. Trump will say the right things. His honesty is refreshing, especially in politics. He’s got the strength to put this country back together, economically, militarily and on the border. I agree with a lot of things he’s saying.
When you say his honesty is refreshing, a lot of web sites that fact check his statements find that he generally doesn’t speak the truth.
Well, be specific. What things has he said that aren’t true?
For example, he claims that he was against the Iraq War. That’s not true.
That is true. He was always against the war.
What do you make of his selection of Mike Pence as his running mate?
I like him. To tell you the truth, I don’t know much about him except what I found out. It’s really about Trump right now. It’s about him becoming president.
Do you think Trump will be able to appeal to non-white voters? He’s not doing well with that demographic in the polls.
I’m an immigrant, and I’m voting for him. It’s a matter of really going out there and talking to people. All my African-American friends that I know are going to vote for him. This country needs help. This president has been a disgrace. I hate to say that, I supported every president since I moved to this country. I love everything about this country. But I’ve seen enough of President Obama. I think he needs to go.
Why aren’t there more speakers from Hollywood at the convention?
It’s up for them to decide. They might be liberal. They might be voting for Hillary. Or maybe they are afraid. I can only speak for myself.
Are you worried that supporting Trump will hurt your career?
You know what? It’s my life, and it’s up to my God. It’s not a matter of what Hollywood is going to do. I sleep good at night, knowing that I’m making the right decision.
What have your interactions been like with Trump on the campaign trail?
He was the same guy I met 20 years ago. I met him at an event in New York City. He offered me a ride — it was raining outside, and he was very kind. He’s a gentleman. He remembers your name and things like that, and he looks you right in the eye.
Has he seen any of your movies?
I doubt he’s seen any of my movies. Maybe he’s seen me on “Dancing With the Stars.”