Bruce Springsteen: Racism ‘Genie’ Won’t Go ‘Back in the Bottle’ after Trump
Bruce Springsteen opened up about his biggest fears of a Donald Trump presidency this week, telling podcast host Marc Maron that he doubts the billionaire businessman has the “competence” to perform his presidential duties and that his policy proposals appeal to Americans’ “worst angels.”
In a wide-ranging, hour-long discussion on Maron’s podcast, WTF with Marc Maron, the 67-year-old E Street Band leader — a vocal supporter of former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — said he has never felt the kind of fear he feels now that Trump has been elected.
“It’s simply the fear of, ‘Is someone simply competent enough to do this particular job?'” Springsteen told Maron. “Forget about where they are ideologically. Do they simply have the pure competence to be put in a position of such responsibility?”
Springsteen — who previously predicted Trump would lose the election and has called him a “toxic narcissist” and a “moron” — told Maron that he understands how Trump got elected. He said that Americans deeply affected by “de-industrialization, globalization and technological advances” were drawn to Trump’s promises to bring jobs back to America and to secure the southern border and fight terrorism.
But the rocker said that Trump’s proposed policies are “lies,” and he fears what would happen if “the worst aspects of what [Trump] appealed to comes to fruition.”
“When you let that genie out of the bottle — racism, bigotry, intolerance — when you let those things out of the bottle, they don’t go back in the bottle that easily, if they go back in at all. Whether it’s a rise in hate crimes, people feeling that they have license to speak and behave in ways that previously were considered un-American, and are un-American. That’s what he’s appealing to.
And so my fear is that those things find a place in ordinary, civil society, demeans the discussion and events of the day, and the country changes in a way that is unrecognizable, and we become estranged… Those are all dangerous things, and he hasn’t even taken office yet. So we gotta wait and see. But those are certainly the implications, and you also look at who he’s been picking for his Cabinet, that doesn’t speak very well for what’s coming up.”
Springsteen also offered a silver lining to Trump’s presidency; that Americans could realize that there are millions of people in the country who think differently than they do.
“So the answer is not to pull back into your little box, the answer is, ‘Let’s find out,'” he told Maron. “There’s plenty of good, solid folks that voted for Donald Trump, as well as people who had other agendas. But to know that, you’ve got to know some.”
Springsteen was a fierce critic of Trump in the closing months of the 2016 campaign, at one point calling the Republican’s candidacy a “tragedy for our democracy.”
On the eve of Election Day, the rocker performed a brief acoustic set featuring songs including “Dancing in the Dark” and “Thunder Road” at a last-minute rally for Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia.
Hear Springsteen’s full interview with Marc Maron here.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum