Former Hollywood action star and new Russian citizen Steven Seagal bashed the recent wave of “disgusting” NFL player protests and defended “brilliant” Russian President Vladimir Putin — in a live interview from Moscow with the Kremlin in the background.
“For anyone to think that Vladimir Putin had anything to do with fixing the elections, or even that the Russians have that kind of technology, is stupid,” Seagal told Piers Morgan on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” Wednesday. “This kind of propaganda is really a diversion.”
Seagal, who accepted Russian citizenship from Putin in 2016, praised the Russian president as “a great world leader” and “brilliant tactician.”
He also bashed American athletes who refuse to stand during the national anthem before games. “I believe in free speech, I believe that everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but I don’t agree that they should hold the United States of America or the world hostage by taking a venue where people are tuning in to watch a football game and imposing their political views.”
He added, “I think it’s outrageous, I think it’s a joke, it’s disgusting. I respect the American flag. I myself have risked my life countless times for the American flag and I don’t understand or agree with this kind of behavior. I think it’s an outrage.”
The action star also addressed the political situation in the U.S. since Donald Trump became president. “I think that we have a really unfortunate situation in the sense that even though he was democratically elected, there are so many people out there that don’t think that’s the case,” he said “We have a ton of enemies within.”
He said he sympathized with Trump’s plight in trying to achieve his agenda because of “enemies within.”
“We have these Democrats that have this whole other agenda to kind of, when I say Democrats it’s not just the Democrats, but there are this whole group of leftover Obama-ites and people that feel they should overthrow Trump, and any decisions he makes, anything he tries to do, he gets blocked so often from the enemies within, so it’s very difficult for him to do anything.”
Seagal, whose father was Russian, also defended his decision to accept citizenship and move to a nation with a decidedly fraught relationship to the U.S. — and his personal friendship with Putin, whom he said he had met “many times.”
“There are millions and millions of people in America who have dual and multiple citizenship,” Seagal said, with no evidence to back up those numbers. “What makes it controversial is all of the propaganda flying about Russia itself.”
Watch the video above.
Related stories from TheWrap: