Glenn Beck, the former Fox News host and founder of TheBlaze, said the news of his support of Hillary Clinton's campaign for the White House has been greatly exaggerated. His picture with a backdrop of Clinton's "I'm With Her" logo bounced around social media this week courtesy of a report he suggests originated at Breitbart News, which was run by Stephen Bannon, who left to become Donald Trump's campaign chairman.
Beck told The Hollywood Reporter that "the meme they created of me campaigning for Hillary seems a little too much like Saturday Night Live" and that he has no intention to vote for either Trump or Clinton. He chalks much of the confusion about his political stance toward the alt-right movement, which Beck has not exactly cozied up with for years.
Here's what Beck has to say about that, while he also weighs in on what he thinks is happening behind the scenes between Trump and former Fox News honcho Roger Ailes.
So the media is reporting that you are with Hillary Clinton. True?
No, it's not. That is Breitbart News intentionally looking to make my life more interesting.
Why would Breitbart want to do that?
I believe the story broke on Breitbart, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out what I actually said. I don't expect CNN to know what I say all the time, but I certainly expect Breitbart to know who I am or am not actively supporting for president. The meme they created of me campaigning for Hillary seems a little too much like Saturday Night Live.
But what would be their motivation?
They are the voice of the alt-right, and Bannon is Trump's campaign person, and he ran Breitbart, and they have their alt-right platform that is also pro-Trump.
But I've seen some in the media describe you as alt-right.
Oh my gosh, no. I couldn't be further from alt-right. And those who are in the alt-right seem to be proud of it. When I was on Fox, I warned of this very thing happening, though I didn't know Donald Trump. I said to Republicans and also Democrats, "You are disenfranchising people. You are lying to them, and all it will take is a persuasive personality to use that for his own accomplishment." It's like in the 1930s with Father Coughlin, the priest who was a nationalist, socialist and populist. Very bad news.
So what did you say about the election that was twisted into something else?
That people need to find their place on the bridge. Where does it break for you? If it doesn't break at him saying you can grab women and have your way with them because you're a celebrity, well, then, where is your line? People who aren't condemning it say, "We have to stop Clinton." No, you don't. You have to retain your values. If you sell out your principles, there's nothing left. How am I supposed to find honor in you? I'm going to stand where I'm at. If it means I don't join the party, then I don't join.
Sounds like you're agreeing with Clinton when she called Trump supporters "deplorable."
No, I'm agreeing with the first version of Ted Cruz, when he said, "Vote your conscience." But that assumes you have a conscience.
Are you taking hostility from your fans who are Trump supporters? Or your former fans?
Former fans? You know something I don't know? I'm taking hostility but not from fans. Our ratings are steady, and my audience understands what I say. They don't want to do something, they want to do the right thing. We could have had Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, even Marco Rubio, and it would have been fine. But this guy was destined to lose by 11 points.
So, then, who are you voting for?
Somebody asked me Sunday and I said [Constitution Party candidate] Darrell Castle, but I don't know. I'll make that decision in the booth, but it won't be Hillary Clinton and it definitely won't be for Donald Trump.
Do you remember the moment you became a never-Trumper?
I thought he was a clown for a long time, so I've never taken him seriously. But I think early on when he talked about his faith and said he never did anything bad that required forgiveness, I thought, "This is not a humble guy." Then I saw him try to turn the crowd against the press, and against anyone he disagreed with, and I thought, "This is just dangerous."
What's the worst thing, or a bad thing, that could happen under a President Trump?
He could not know he's being gamed by Russia's Vladimir Putin. All Putin would have to do is say, "Trump is the most luxurious president ever and he has the hugest hands, and he's the ultimate capitalist and I wish we could be more like him," and Trump would be in the bag for Putin. Or, if Putin called Trump a disgrace and a weak leader, we could see retaliation. Trump's a deeply flawed man, and he can be played.
And what's the worst, or a bad thing, that would happen under a President Hillary Clinton?
We'd slide deeper into oligarchy. Under both of them we could nationalize the banks, we could be at war more than we are already, but I don't think Hillary will kill us. We'll survive.
One of your radio competitors, Dennis Prager, argued today against never-Trumpism because it is important to keep Clinton from transforming America with open borders, more refugees, activist judges, etc.
I don't necessarily disagree. The problem with the lesser of two evils is that eventually you get down to evil. The devil you know might be better than the devil you don't know. I don't know what Trump will do. I know Hillary is not going to take us to a more Constitutional and free system - there will be more oligarchy and corruption - but that will happen with Donald Trump, too, plus he's unstable. The last thing we need is an unstable man in the White House.
You say Clinton's tactics are juvenile. Got an example?
Like with the emails, saying she didn't do it, then she didn't realize she did it. It's the kind of lies my children would tell me. "No, I didn't get into the cookie jar. It wasn't me. Okay, I had one." Then you find out all the cookies are gone. It's a foolish game. I would so respect somebody who would say, "This is what I believe. It's different than what I told you before, but here's why," and just let me handle it as an adult. Hillary and Trump are both like 4-year-olds.
Any update on your movie aspirations?
We are in development with a Christmas production.
What are the details?
It's a feature film, working title The Christmas Sweater, with somebody in Hollywood, but I can't say who yet.
There are reports that your business is in financial difficulty.
We are fine. We are hiring at TheBlaze. We're getting ready to launch 2.0, which is not a new website, it's a whole redesign of the business, and we hope to have it out by the end of the year. Everything in Mercury is doing better than it ever has. We are in the black for the first time in our company's history, and have been for two years, and I've paid down about $10 million in debt in two years. I don't know of a failing company that can do that.
Concerning your old gig at Fox News, what do you think of Roger Ailes stepping down?
If Donald Trump wins it will be because of Roger Ailes. You can like him, you can hate him, you can think he's a god or a scoundrel, but he is a political genius. Any move I have seen Trump make that was locked in and solid, I believe was due to Ailes, whereas all the craziness has been Trump himself or Bannon.
Do you think Ailes is still helping Trump behind the scenes?
I think he is, but I don't know how much Trump is listening to him anymore. He said the shackles were off of him, so that is more about what Bannon wants to do and less about Ailes and [campaign manager] Kellyanne Conway.
Do you believe the sexual harassment allegations against Ailes? Did you ever witness anything?
I never saw any of that. As sexy as I am, he never hit on me.
Update: Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlowe sent THR a short statement in reply to the Q&A with Beck.
Glenn Beck declared taking measures that he acknowledges would elect Hillary Clinton "moral, ethical." He is playing semantic games by suggesting this does not make him "for her" or "with her." Mrs. Clinton sold parts of the American government while Secretary of State, lied to the families of Benghazi victims, has stated that her "dream" is "open borders," and deleted over 30,000 emails (and then lied about them repeatedly). To suggest to a largely conservative audience that there is a "moral, ethical" case to hand her the White House is tantamount to support. Clearly.