Donald Trump traveled to Winterset, Iowa, home of legendary actor John Wayne (real name Marion Morrison) to receive the endorsement of the late celebrity’s daughter — an event where the similarities between the two men were touted.
Of course, there’s something John Wayne and Donald Trump really do have in common: Racially offensive statements. Indeed, The Duke said things that would make The Donald’s jaw drop.
“America needs help, and we need a strong leader, and we need someone like Mr. Trump with leadership qualities, someone with courage, someone that’s strong — like John Wayne,” said Aissa Wayne. “And I’ll tell you what: If John Wayne were around, he’d be standing right here, instead of me.”
Donald Trump himself also spoke approvingly of the actor.
“John Wayne represented strength, he represented power, he represented what the people are looking for today, because we have exactly the opposite from John Wayne in this country. And he represented real strength, and an inner strength that you don’t see very often. And that’s why with this endorsement, it meant so much to me.”
But let’s take a look back at John Wayne’s own ideas for America.
In 1971, Wayne conducted an interview with Playboy that spanned a wide range of topics: Wayne’s movies, his staunch support for the Vietnam War, his anti-Communist activism — and on those topics, his desire for war movie violence to be fun again — and along the way, his opinions on race.
PLAYBOY: Angela Davis claims that those who would revoke her teaching credentials on ideological grounds are actually discriminating against her because she’s black. Do you think there’s any truth in that?
WAYNE: With a lot of blacks, there’s quite a bit of resentment along with their dissent, and possibly rightfully so. But we can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks. I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.
The difference in educational advancement (and resources) for different races was also discussed:
PLAYBOY: But isn’t it true that we’re never likely to rectify the inequities in our educational system until some sort of remedial education is given to disadvantaged minority groups?
WAYNE: What good would it do to register anybody in a class of higher algebra or calculus if they haven’t learned to count? There has to be a standard. I don’t feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves. Now, I’m not condoning slavery. It’s just a fact of life, like the kid who gets infantile paralysis and has to wear braces so he can’t play football with the rest of us. I will say this, though: I think any black who can compete with a white today can get a better break than a white man. I wish they’d tell me where in the world they have it better than right here in America.
That point in the conversation then turned into the jobs available for blacks in Hollywood.
PLAYBOY: Many militant blacks would argue that they have it better almost anywhere else. Even in Hollywood, they feel that the color barrier is still up for many kinds of jobs. Do you limit the number of blacks you use in your pictures?
WAYNE: Oh, Christ no. I’ve directed two pictures and I gave the blacks their proper position. I had a black slave in The Alamo, and I had a correct number of blacks in The Green Berets. If it’s supposed to be a black character, naturally I use a black actor. But I don’t go so far as hunting for positions for them. I think the Hollywood studios are carrying their tokenism a little too far. There’s no doubt that 10 percent of the population is black, or colored, or whatever they want to call themselves; they certainly aren’t Caucasian. Anyway, I suppose there should be the same percentage of the colored race in films as in society. But it can’t always be that way. There isn’t necessarily going to be 10 percent of the grips or sound men who are black, because more than likely, 10 percent haven’t trained themselves for that type of work.
The topic of Native Americans also came up:
PLAYBOY: For years American Indians have played an important — if subordinate — role in your Westerns. Do you feel any empathy with them?
WAYNE: I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that’s what you’re asking. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.
PLAYBOY: Weren’t the Indians—by virtue of prior possession—the rightful owners of the land?
WAYNE: Look, I’m sure there have been inequalities. If those inequalities are presently affecting any of the Indians now alive, they have a right to a court hearing. But what happened 100 years ago in our country can’t be blamed on us today.
PLAYBOY: Indians today are still being dehumanized on reservations.
WAYNE: I’m quite sure that the concept of a government-run reservation would have an ill effect on anyone. But that seems to be what the socialists are working for now—to have everyone cared for from cradle to grave.
PLAYBOY: Indians on reservations are more neglected than cared for. Even if you accept the principle of expropriation, don’t you think a more humane solution to the Indian problem could have been devised?
WAYNE: This may come as a surprise to you, but I wasn’t alive when reservations were created—even if I do look that old. I have no idea what the best method of dealing with the Indians in the 1800s would have been. Our forefathers evidently thought they were doing the right thing.
The two then discussed a major news event going on at the time: The occupation of Alcatraz Island by a group of Native American activists, who had taken over the former prison site in an effort to both reclaim it as their own and to demand the creation of a new museum and cultural site there.
PLAYBOY: Do you think the Indians encamped on Alcatraz have a right to that land?
WAYNE: Well, I don’t know of anybody else who wants it. The fellas who were taken off it sure don’t want to go back there, including the guards. So as far as I’m concerned, I think we ought to make a deal with the Indians. They should pay as much for Alcatraz as we paid them for Manhattan. I hope they haven’t been careless with their wampum.
Hmm, maybe the Indians should’ve read The Art of the Deal?