Of all the pebbles in President Trump’s shoe, liberal filmmaker Michael Moore has aspired — since before day one — to be one of the most conspicuous.
Moore has called for Trump to step aside — even before Trump took office. He has attended protests and sworn that Trump “will not last these four years.” He has staged his own one-man play in New York that made no secret of its aim with its motto: “Can a Broadway show take down a sitting President?”
If that was the beginning of Moore’s charge up an anti-Trump hill, he is at its apex now, nearly a year-and-a-half into Trump’s presidency.
In an appearance on HBO’s “Real Time” Friday night, Moore told host Bill Maher that American democracy was on the precipice of being extinguished. He was responding, in part, to a prompt by Maher that posited whether a “civil war” could be imminent in the United States.
“Fascism is at the doorstep,” Moore started.
“A slow-moving coup —…,” Maher interjected.
“People are afraid to use the word, but I think that we have got to be very serious about this,” Moore continued. “[Franklin Delano Roosevelt] and [Winston] Churchill defeated fascism. … If they defeated fascism, look what we’ve got. We’ve got a country where the vast majority believe in women’s rights, environmental stuff, don’t put people in jail for using drugs. All of that stuff, the majority are with us. We are the majority. Why don’t we start acting like the majority?”
Moore lamented the approaches Democrats were using to fight back against Trump and his policies, saying the president would never give up on issues like detaining migrant families for lengthy periods of time or wanting to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“This is the beauty and the genius of Trump and why you have to step back for a second and admire him the way Patton admired Rommel. That Trump — when he says he’s going to do something, he’s going to do it,” Moore said. “They are never going to stop. And we never act like that on any of the things that we say we believe in. They are relentless, they are [expletives] to the core, and we are like, oh …”
Moore trailed off before pretending to drift off and beginning to sing a lilting version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
“And that’s how we are,” Moore declared, perhaps in reference to many public figures bemoaning the state of civility in politics. “And we have got to stop.”
Representatives for Moore could not immediately be reached for comment Saturday.
On Maher’s show, Moore called for people to march on Washington to prevent Congress from voting on a new Supreme Court justice — the one who will take the place of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who announced his retirement this past week — before the midterm elections in November.
“Listen, the Senate right now is 51-49. Sadly, McCain will not be able to vote, so it’s a 50-49 vote. C’mon. C’mon. We’ve got to push it off til after November,” Moore said. “We first have to find ways to stop that vote from happening. I’ll join a million other people surrounding the United States Capitol.”
He also urged those who felt too busy to join such protests to remember the sacrifices of civil rights activist the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
“What are people willing to commit to? What would you give your life for?” Moore said. “What would you be willing to actually put yourself on the line for? That moment is now. We are going to lose our democracy if we haven’t already. We have no choice, my friends. We all have to rise up.”
Although Moore was ostensibly on Maher’s show to promote his upcoming movie, “Fahrenheit 11/9” — another anti-Trump project — he didn’t delve too deeply into it Friday night.
“We’re not going to plug anything here,” Moore told Maher when asked about the film. “I’m finishing my movie and getting it out before the midterms because I want millions of people to get to the polls.”
In May, Moore dropped several hints about his forthcoming project on social media, including tweeting footage from 20 years ago from when he and Trump appeared on a show with Roseanne Barr.
In the 1998 clip, Trump tells Moore he hopes he is never the subject of one of Moore’s documentaries.
“I know Roseanne. And I know Trump,” present-day Moore tweeted. “And they are about to rue the day they knew me. …”
Moore’s appearance on Maher’s show, along with his upcoming movie, is just one of a long string of anti-Trump declarations the filmmaker has made in the past several years.
Leading up to Election Day 2016, Moore was one of the few to predict Donald Trump would win. Intended to be an October surprise, the filmmaker released “Michael Moore in TrumpLand,” a hastily produced pro-Hillary Clinton monologue that was vehemently critical of the Republican presidential nominee.
A Trump victory, Moore shouted in the film, would be “the biggest f— you ever recorded in human history.” Weeks later, Trump was elected.
Days after the 2016 presidential election, Moore showed up at Trump Tower with a camera crew and a note for Trump that read “You lost. Step aside.”