You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Scandal’s’ Ricardo Chavira Talks Playing Mexican-American Politician, Blasts Donald Trump ‘Bandwagon’

“Desperate Housewives” alum Ricardo Chavira has returned to ABC with a recurring role on “Scandal,” and his storyline ramps up in this Thursday’s episode. Chavira plays Mexican-American Governor Francisco Vargas in Shonda Rhimes’ hit series, which is no stranger to making political statements — especially during the 2016 presidential campaign season.

“I don’t think anything that ‘Scandal’ could do could mirror what’s going on in the real world right now. I think what Shonda would come up with and what this show is revealing is far more presidential than anything we are being offered in reality,” Chavira tells Variety, speaking on the U.S. primaries and the colorful showcase of presidential hopefuls, including Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

“This guy, when we meet him in the first episode at the town hall meeting, he’s talking about wanting to establish free education in the state that he’s governor of — those are big goals. When I was reading it, I was like, sh-t! I’d vote for this guy!” He adds, “If you look at what’s going on currently in our politics in 2016, that’s the Bernie Sanders agenda, so you’ve now put the agenda of a 74-year-old Jewish man in the characterization of a 40-year-old Latino American.”

Following the episode in which Chavira’s character gave the speech about free education, his second appearance featured his character involved in a shooting at the Capitol. When asked about his reaction to seeing the scene in his script, the actor, who played Eva Longoria’s husband on “Housewives,” admitted he’s “a little desensitized” to hearing about shootings.

“Growing up in Texas, I’ve been around guns my whole life,” he says. “It’s a sad state of affairs in our country that we have shootings daily. The thing is, we’ve had shootings daily for a long time. The problem is that they’ve always centered within certain socioeconomic communities so we don’t pay attention to them, but now that they’re extending beyond those communities and getting into non-ethno-specific communities, oh my god, we have to pay attention. Compton has been dealing with shootings for a long time. The South Side and the West Side of San Antonio have been dealing with shootings for a long time.”

While gun control is a major point of discussion this election cycle, perhaps the most controversial topic has been Trump’s comments on Mexican immigrants. Chavira, a second-generation American, says his “Scandal” character reflects the upside of the heated debate.

“We’re seeing this story of this second-generation immigrant coming into his own as a politician. That is an aspect of that American dream,” he says. “Let’s look at the landscape of what’s going on politically right now — there are so many people jumping on this Donald Trump bandwagon that I think have literally forgotten that your roots in this country are immigrant roots. Let’s be very clear about this, people: This country is built on nothing but f—ing immigrants. Let’s not forget that. For me, it’s very easy to step into this role because I commend this character for having the voice that he has. I feel honored to be able to play a character that has this kind of conviction.”

Chavira’s role is another example of Rhimes’ inclusion of diverse types of roles for diverse actors in her shows, exemplified by Kerry Washington, “How to Get Away With Murder’s” Viola Davis and “Grey’s Anatomy” alum Sandra Oh, to name just a few.

“For me, as a Latino Mexican-American actor in this country, the way the demographic of actors is playing out these days in Hollywood, it’s very refreshing that there’s a role for a second-generation actor to be playing close to himself on television,” Chavira says.

“I’m not having to play a gang-banger, I’m not having to play a janitor, I’m not having to play a drug cartel guy — I’m playing someone that had I not chosen to be an actor, this might be my actual storyline for my life,” Chavira explains. “I applaud Shonda for offering that accessibility. If you look at this character, he is the Castro brothers from San Antonio. When I read this, I envisioned this in my head so I’m very proud to be able to step in and play a character like this and that it could slightly compare to those two men. I’m very proud of them and all of their accomplishments.”

Chavira’s next episode of “Scandal” airs Thursday night at 9 p.m.

More TV

  • Outlander 406

    'Outlander' Recap: Jamie Encounters William Again in 'Blood of My Blood'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Blood Of My Blood,” the sixth episode of “Outlander” Season 4. The action in “Blood of My Blood” picked up almost immediately after the previous week’s episode, as evidenced by the fact that Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) was still staying with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and [...]

  • The Flash -- "Elseworlds, Part 1"

    'Elseworlds, Part 1' Recap: Barry Allen and Oliver Queen Swap Skills, Visit Superman

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Elseworlds, Part 1,” the first part of the 2018 “Arrowverse” crossover, which aired Dec. 9. After past crossovers that introduced beloved characters’ doppelgangers, a wedding and death, “Elseworlds,” the fifth annual “Arrowverse” event, had a lot to which to live up. Unlike previous years, [...]

  • Stranger Things

    'Stranger Things' Season 3 Teaser Reveals Episode Titles, 2019 Release

    Netflix dropped a new teaser for the upcoming third season of “Stranger Things” Sunday, confirming that it will land on the streamer in 2019. The teaser also revealed the episode titles for the third season, which are as follows: “Suzie, Do You Copy?,” “The Mall Rats,” “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard,” “The Sauna Test,” [...]

  • Kyzza Terrazas Joins Garcia Bernal, Diego

    Kyzza Terrazas Joins Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna’s La Corriente del Golfo (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Launching their new production house, La Corriente de Golfo, last April, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna have tapped Mexican writer-director Kyzza Terrazas as the company’s head of development. The appointment will certainly help build the company appointing an old-rounder capable of overseeing and implementing development, writing and directing, and a longtime [...]

  • Michael Che Defends Kevin Hart on

    Michael Che Ribs Academy Over Kevin Hart Controversy on 'SNL'

    Kevin Hart may have alienated some in Hollywood over his recently resurfaced homophobic tweets, but that didn’t stop “Weekend Update” co-host Michael Che from cracking some jokes in support of Hart on Dec. 8’s “Saturday Night Live.” After briefly recapping that Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars after the 2011 tweets came to light, [...]


    'The Umbrella Academy' Superheroes Series Premiere Date Set on Netflix

    The dysfunctional-family superheroes of “The Umbrella Academy” are landing on Netflix worldwide on Feb. 15, 2019. The live-action series is based on the “Umbrella Academy” comic books created and written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá, published by Dark Horse Comics. The Netflix original series comprises 10 one-hour episodes. “The Umbrella Academy” stars [...]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Jason Momoa"

    Robert De Niro Appears as Robert Mueller in 'Saturday Night Live' Cold Open

    Robert De Niro made a surprise appearance as special counsel Robert Mueller in “Saturday Night Live’s” cold open. De Niro popped out of a closet in a sketch that skewered President Donald Trump and the mounting legal pressure Mueller’s investigation has put on many of Trump’s associates. Alex Moffatt played Eric Trump in a bedtime-story [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content