Aasif Mandvi on Trump’s Press Conference: ‘These Are the First Signs of Fascism’

Actor, comedian and former “Daily Show” correspondent Aasif Mandvi told Variety Wednesday night that he felt “distressed” after Donald Trump’s press conference earlier that day.

During the president elect’s first formal meeting with reporters since winning the election, he called BuzzFeed a “failing pile of garbage,” told a CNN reporter “You are fake news” and refused to take his question, and said that Russian hacking intended to help him win the election should be looked at as an “asset.”

“These are the first signs of fascism,” Mandvi told Variety. “These are the things we need to be wary of. We need to protect our democracy because there’s a potential autocrat in the White House.”

Mandvi, who tweeted several times during the press conference using the hashtag #FascistTrump, compared what he sees in Trump to the Obama presidency.

“You can say what you want about Obama, he wasn’t perfect, but at the end of the day he was a public servant. And he was in it for the service,” he said. “Trump doesn’t feel that way. He feels like he’s in it for Trump.”

The actor specifically cited Trump’s answer to a question from a reporter about a recent intelligence report that said Vladimir Putin and the Russian government were to blame for pre-election hacking intended to help Trump win. “If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability,” Trump said during the conference.

“You realize that he doesn’t understand why this is a problem at all,” Mandvi responded. “He’s thinking like a businessman. He’s thinking ‘It’s good for business.’ And that’s not what politics and running the country is about.”

Mandvi anticipates that anti-Trump protests — such as the Women’s March on Washington planned to take place the day after Trump’s inauguration, and another scheduled to take place at Sundance — will not stop anytime soon.

“Unfortunately I feel like there are going to be a lot of protests,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of people standing up and saying ‘This is not [OK].’ I think we’re going to see some things perhaps unconstitutional, perhaps that undermine our democracy in ways we can’t imagine right now.”

More Biz

  • Bert Salke and Jennifer Salke

    Feds Looked Into Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke in College Admissions Scandal

    Federal investigators looked into Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke and her husband, Fox 21 Television Studios president Bert Salke, as they conducted a sprawling probe of cheating in elite college admissions, a source close to the case told Variety. It does not appear, however, that prosecutors will charge the Salkes in the case. The Salkes [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Big Blackout Looms as CBS, AT&T Go Down to Wire on Renewal Talks

    A blackout affecting CBS stations in major markets throughout the country looms as CBS and AT&T executives go down to the wire on negotiations for a retransmission consent deal covering 28 O&O stations. The sides have sparred publicly during the past few days as 11 p.m. PT Friday expiration of the previous contract approached. AT&T [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    ICM Responds to WGA Packaging Lawsuit: Claims are 'Baseless' and 'Absurd'

    ICM Partners has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against four major talent agencies by the Writers Guild of America as part of the larger war between agencies and the guild over packaging fees on TV series and movies. The guild sued ICM, CAA, WME and UTA in California state court in April, [...]

  • New York City NYC Placeholder

    CityFM Podcast Takes a Deep Look at New York’s Music Scene (Listen)

    First among the many projects listed at the beginning of New York Music Month in June was a WNYE radio show and podcast called CityFM that promised to “explore the city’s music culture, emerging artists and trends, and upcoming events told through the lens of what’s happening around the city in Summer 2019.” And while [...]

  • Live Nation Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Live Nation)

    Live Nation Confirms Placing Tickets Directly on Secondary Market at Artists’ Request

    Representatives for Live Nation, the world’s largest live-entertainment company and owner of Ticketmaster, confirmed that it bypassed conventional channels and directly placed thousands of concert tickets on the secondary market upon artists’ request, in an article published in Billboard. In a statement shared with Variety, the company acknowledged that it has facilitated the transfer of [...]

  • Costume designer Michele Clapton

    Costume Designers Fashion a Plan to Fight for Pay Parity in Upcoming Contract Talks

    The Costume Designers Guild Local 892 is gearing up to fight for pay equity in its 2021 contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, establishing a pay-equity committee to raise awareness of the scale disparity between the mostly female CDG membership and the mostly male membership of the Art Directors Guild Local [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content