Scott Baio, who is arguably one of Hollywood's most outspoken supporters of Donald Trump's bid for the White House, said he's under attack because he is backing the Republican nominee. "I just got a death threat," said the Happy Days alum, who gave a keynote address on the first day of the Republican National Convention in July.
The actor told The Hollywood Reporter that the threat was delivered via a nonprofit organization named after his daughter. The Bailey Baio Angel Foundation, run with wife Renee, advocates for families with children suffering from metabolic disorders. He didn't give details about what was in the threat, and said he reported it to police.
Baio, like fellow RNC speaker and Melrose Place alum Antonio Sabato Jr., is not shocked by the criticism leveled against him for supporting Trump. Both actors pin the blame on a political bias that permeates notoriously liberal-minded Hollywood. "It's so funny, liberals are so open-minded unless you disagree with them - then they want to shut you down," Baio said.
But has the recent controversy over a lewd exchange between Billy Bush and Trump dented his support? Here's what Baio has to say.
Are you still supporting Trump even after the Bush tape?
Hell yes. It's a silly question.
Why would I change? Because he said stuff that guys sometimes say to each other? It's absurd. It's all phony outrage. The people who condemn this condone everything else. They're the people who make Sex and the City, Fifty Shades of Grey, and now they have moral outrage? It's bullshit.
But those are fiction and Trump actually said the things heard on that recording, which amounts to harassment of women.
I don't condone sexual assault or violence against anybody. But it's not harassment. He's not telling anyone to do anything. I'm lost as to what the big deal is. Listen, between Hillary Clinton and Satan, I'd choose Satan. And again, I don't condone sexual assault against anybody.
Are you calling Trump "Satan"?
No. I'm saying anybody but her. I'd much rather have a guy who talks like a guy as opposed to a woman who lies and people die, then lies some more, right to people's faces, and pretty much lies about everything.
Is yours a difficult position to take in liberal Hollywood?
I don't give a shit. It's so funny, liberals are so open-minded unless you disagree with them - then they want to shut you down. They call you names, and I just got a death threat.
Really? Tell me about that.
I got a death threat on my Bailey Baio Angel Foundation website. This is what they do. They're not going to shut me up.
Do you know who threatened you?
Did you report it to the police?
Can you tell me the language used in the threat?
I don't think I should.
Did the person or people say why they were threatening you?
Because I drive nice cars. No, because I support Trump, of course! I support Trump. It's just insane.
What kind of car do you drive?
I got a lot of gas-guzzling cars.
Hollywood liberals think this recording is the smoking gun. Is there any old recording someone could unearth where Trump would lose your support?
Come on. I can't tell the future. But everyone is so concerned about what he said 11 years ago and no one cares about the WikiLeaks emails? I've never seen this in my life. Everyone is against this guy. And by the way, that's a reason he could win this.
What do you mean?
It's so much that at some point there's a huge backlash. People will say, "I've had enough. Hillary is not a good person." I know Trump, and everything I know about him tells me he's a good guy, he just talks like a guy. Even the Republicans against him are a waste of space. Especially Paul Ryan. I think he's a punk. He fights harder against Trump than he does against Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. If Hillary wins, he will lay down and do nothing.
You say of the Trump-Bush conversation that guys just talk like that. Do you?
Not exactly like that, but I smoke cigars and play golf and we talk about women, and we talk about the world, and we talk about everything. Every guy I've ever known talks a little like that, even Paul Ryan when he was in a fraternity. And we know that Hillary talks worse than that. She uses "motherf - er," she says she doesn't like "everyday people," but it's OK, because she doesn't mean it that way. It's all ass-backwards.
Do you know Billy Bush?
It looks like he may lose his job over this.
I don't think he should. Any liberal can apologize for anything and be forgiven, but if a Republican says anything, they're out. I don't know Billy Bush's politics, but he's a Bush. Maybe Trump should do what Bill Clinton did, start walking around with a Bible after he was caught sticking a cigar in Monica Lewinsky.
Robert De Niro called Trump a "dog" and a "pig" and Jon Voight attacked De Niro for those remarks. You ever engage in political feuds like that in Hollywood?
I just talked to Jon, a little about the De Niro thing, but mostly about what we could do to help Trump. He was disappointed in De Niro, but Jon is a tough guy. This stuff doesn't ruffle Jon like it doesn't ruffle me.
In what ways are you and Jon planning on helping Trump?
My country is upside down in every area and it needs to be turned right again. With Hillary, it goes more upside down - it goes down a rat hole. If Trump wins and does nothing else but stop it, I'm happy.
But how can you and Jon help Trump? Make commercials, raise money, anything tangible?
We haven't decided yet. I'd tell you, but I just don't know yet.
What do you tell Hollywood liberals who say this Bush tape is the death knell for Trump?
How many death knells has he had? Fifty? And he still has 25,000 people showing up at a rally while Hillary has about 200? I know there's a lot of excitement for the guy. Liberals are so afraid of him. I'll give you a weird analogy: In Gladiator with Russell Crowe, Marcus Aurelius asks, "Why won't you accept this great honor that I have offered you?" And Crowe says, "With all my heart. No." And Marcus says, "That is why it must be you." Same thing here. It must be this guy. It can't be another politician to fix this shit. It must be Trump, in my opinion.
Between opposition research and a hostile media, do you worry that another shoe will drop?
They've been dropping shoes on this guy for a year and a half, and he's still going. But, yes, there will be other shoes to drop, and there will be shoes dropping on Hillary. But nobody cares about that because the media is so in the tank. God almighty.
Are any of your fellow actors mad at you over politics?
Honestly, most of the celebrities I hang out with are for Trump.
Really? Do people know they're for Trump? Can you name them?
I think people know, but I'd hate to say their names if people don't know. I was just with a bunch of them, in fact. But I don't hang out with celebrities much. I think they're weird people. Very self-indulgent. They really are. I try not to think of myself as one of them.
Oct. 12, 7:25 a.m.: This story has been updated to include Baio's full response to the third question.