Dwayne Johnson explains why he didn’t endorse anyone in the 2016 election

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is currently promoting Baywatch: The Movie, which is why he’s on the cover of the latest issue of GQ (The Comedy Issue). The photoshoot is beach-themed, naturally, but the piece is called “Dwayne Johnson for President!” The photos make it seem like The Rock is campaigning for something, and he talks politics in the piece. You can read the full GQ interview here. Some highlights:

He’s been thinking about running for office: “A year ago, it started coming up more and more. There was a real sense of earnestness, which made me go home and think, ‘Let me really rethink my answer and make sure I am giving an answer that is truthful and also respectful.’ I didn’t want to be flippant—‘We’ll have three days off for a weekend! No taxes!’”

Whether he would give up movie stardom to be president of the United States: “I think that it’s a real possibility,” he says solemnly.

He didn’t endorse anybody in 2016: Last year, both presidential campaigns reached out to him for his endorsement, he says. “Which I did not give. I felt like…and give me a second, because I’ve never said this publicly, so… I feel like I’m in a position now where my word carries a lot of weight and influence, which of course is why they want the endorsement. But I also have a tremendous amount of respect for the process and felt like if I did share my political views publicly, a few things would happen—and these are all conversations I have with myself, in the gym at four o’clock in the morning—I felt like it would either (a) make people unhappy with the thought of whatever my political view was. And, also, it might sway an opinion, which I didn’t want to do.” He says he told both the Trump and Clinton camps that he wasn’t making an endorsement, that he preferred to see Americans make up their own minds…. These days, he tells me, he’s registered as an independent.

How he thinks Trump is doing: “Mmm… With any job you come into, you’ve got to prove yourself. And… Personally, I feel that if I were president, poise would be important. Leadership would be important. Taking responsibility for everybody. [If I didn't agree with someone] on something, I wouldn’t shut them out. I would actually include them. The first thing we’d do is we’d come and sit down and we’d talk about it. It’s hard to categorize right now how I think he’s doing, other than to tell you how I would operate, what I would like to see…”

His thoughts on the Muslim Ban: “I completely disagree with it. I believe in our national security to the core, but I don’t believe in a ‘ban’ that bans immigrants. I believe in inclusion. Our country was built on that, and it continues to be made strong by that. And the decision felt like a snap judgment. I feel like the majority of, if not all, Americans feel that protection is of huge importance. But the ideology and the execution [of national-security initiatives] is where we really have to be careful of not making those snap decisions, because there’s a tail effect… Within 24 hours, we saw a ‘tail effect.’ It grew to heartache, it grew to a great deal of pain, it grew to a great deal of confusion, and it had a lot of people scrambling.”

[From GQ]

I came into this thinking that I was going to end up yelling about how it’s everyone’s individual responsibility to stand up to fascism, and that at the very least, use your space to speak your truth. Part of me does judge Johnson for being so painfully diplomatic and so… I don’t know, incapable of just saying “Trump is a piece of sh-t” because he worries that his core audience is at least half-way Deplorable. But by the end of the interview, I was sort of convinced that Johnson actually believes in the arguments he’s making and that it’s not just about his bottom line. I don’t know. There’s a lot of male privilege at work here, for sure, but there’s something sort of authentic at work too.

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Photos courtesy of Peggy Sirota/GQ.

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44 Responses to “Dwayne Johnson explains why he didn’t endorse anyone in the 2016 election”

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  1. littlemissnaughty says:

    I was so prepared to roll my eyes at him but … I sort of love everything he says. And it’s a little horrifying that that orange turd hasn’t managed this many coherent and eloquent sentences during his run and since moving into the WH. Combined. Christ.

  2. Miles says:

    Nope. Sorry. Everyone else who made a comment like this was raked over the coals for it. Just because he is genuine in his answer, doesn’t mean that he gets to have a pass for being quiet especially with as he said how much influence he has.

    Having said that…people shouldn’t feel like they have to endorse anybody and I have always said that and felt that way. My comments above are being made based on how folks acted on here and on other sites when someone said they didn’t want to endorse someone or didn’t want to talk politics. If you’re going to go in on others for saying the same thing…why does he suddenly get a pass?

    • greenmonster says:

      I agree. Don’t understand why he gets a pass. Time for diplomacy is over. I like The Rock, though I don’t care about his movies, but I bet his careful words and thoughts have a lot to do with not wanting to anger part of his fanbase.

      • Lilly says:

        Which is the same route Taylor Swift went and she was ripped apart for it…

        It really bothers me how nobody wants to take a stand anymore because they’re worried about their bottom line/lively-hood. I would hate to be on the fence when the history books are written.

        Why is he even talking about the election now that it’s over? And who’s putting the idea that this former wrestler/action movie star could be the next president? I like him, but is the bar really so low?

        What happened to Ivy League educated constitutional scholars? Why do so many Americans look for ‘one of us’ or ‘someone I could have a beer with’ instead of the best and the brightest?

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        Yeah, his answer on why he didn’t endorse Hillary and isn’t critical of Trump is a no. If famous women who were silent on who they voted for and didn’t campaign for Hillary for dumb/cowardly/self-centered reasons don’t get a pass, and if politically active famous women who did vote and campaign for Hillary don’t get a pass for being delusional enough to think they can now sway Trump-supporters to our side with their art, then famous men don’t get a pass from me for being too scared to alienate Trump-supporting fans of his or being afraid of ‘swaying’ Trump-supporters with his celebrity opinion either. Mr. Registered Independent. I’m not saying he’s as bad as a Trump-supporter for this or anything like that, or that people aren’t entitled to make their own decisions about publicly endorsing a candidate, but his motives here are just very short-sighted and out-of-touch. Afraid of swaying people from voting for Trump. Really?!
        I don’t hate him for it though or have a problem with the rest of what he said.

      • DystopianDance says:

        When fascism happens, it’s time to take a stand and trade popularity in for compassion, Rock. The thought of Russian government values taking over our democracy isn’t worth the price of “hurting some people’s feelings at the gym”. Why should he even -entertain -the presidency? It’s a complex job people, and takes a lifetime of public service to understand. IF Rock wants to “serve Americans” he should start by speaking out and being less afraid of deplorables.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      Well, I’ve never cared about who TS voted for or didn’t endorse. I understand the argument with her though because a) she was all about feminism when it fit her brand and that’s a political issue so if she indeed voted for the orange menace, that would’ve been hypocritical at best and b) she might actually have an influence on her fans. They’re young.

      The Rock? Do we really think The Rock’s fanbase would be swayed by him in political matters? I don’t see it. And honestly, he said PLENTY in this interview. He wants a president to be everything that 45 is not. Do I wish he’d be bolder in his answer? Yes. I want everyone with a voice to publicly condemn and shame that crazy lard-filled cheeto in the White House. But he has a right to say nothing. Although, again, he said plenty.

      Just, please don’t ask him about feminism. I still like him.

      • Miles says:

        If we are using the argument that The Rock couldn’t sway his fanbase one way or the other…then what makes you think that Taylor Swift, whose fanbase most likely consists of Republicans, would have swayed the other way? If everything that Trump did didn’t make them look the other away, you think a singer who is a part of the Hollywood circle would have made them sway the other way? Think again.

        Like I said before I personally don’t care. I just find it ironic that there is a double standard. That some folks get a pass. I mean for crying out loud, there were more think pieces about how problematic Taylor Swift is for not saying anything than there were about how awful a person who is openly sexist, racist, homophobic would be as a presidential candidate.

        But The Rock is good to look at so who cares! Right.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Swift fans are mostly Republican? How can you possibly know that? Because she used to sing country? They are young, that was my reasoning and I said so.

  3. INeedANap says:

    I think if he had endorsed Hillary it wouldn’t have swayed any of the deplorables. Trump-worship is their new religion. Both my parents fall into that camp and their thought processes and justification are squarely into delusion territory.

  4. Slowsnow says:

    Kaiser, You find him hot. That’s perfectly fine.
    But he is either campaigning or not wanting to loose fans.
    Either way god forbid a “The Rock” POTUS.
    And before anyone says “better than what we have” I’ll say let’s up the standards here folks. No more celebs but actually people who know what they’re doing.

  5. Aims says:

    I really feel like this is the time to speak up . How much worst does it have to get before you say enough ? ! Being complacent is as bad as being a supporter .

  6. AlmondMilk says:

    @miles +1000

    Dude is protecting his bottomline.

    Maybe he thinks his shiny Hollywood career will bottom out and he might have to go back to work in the (fake)ring or surrounding – so he doesn’t want to go against the creepy McMahons and the deplorables as you said Kaiser, as they do occupy a lot of the WWF.

    Makes me appreciate guys like Dale Earnhardt Jr all the more who let their more liberal,
    anti-rightwing flag fly even while in such a red profession as NASCAR.

    Most of Trumps followers only like him now because they think he’s a mascot for their side or because they apprecaite his code of silence in picking a side -if he was a liberal they’d be calling him the n-word and a mud person and every other vile name they can think of. Just like they do and did Kap.

    • Lilly says:

      When the under armour thing broke and he spoke out about not agreeing with the CEO, but also didn’t break with their endorsement deal (his pattern?) the comments on his social media from many #babytwitterfingers supporters went all in on him. So, I agree, he’s careful and tends to the bottom line. Yes to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Chris Long, their strength of character is wonderful.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      “Most of Trumps followers only like him now because they think he’s a mascot for their side or because they appreciate his code of silence in picking a side. ” Yep, I think we may have a little bit of that going on with #10 and #13 here too. Some see that kind of silence as support or as a normalization of their ‘politics’ and can’t even be happy enough about their ‘win’ to not react when some celebrity or comedian says anything vaguely-anti-Trump. Much like the pathetic little celebrity man-child they voted for (or defend others’ decision to vote for), they either want validation from celebrities and comedians in the form of support and defense, or the typical “Let’s show Both Sides/Let’s Not Alienate/ Both sides are legit, let’s not choose or try to sway people’ commentary.

      • DystopianDance says:

        The Rock needs to get a backbone and convince his deplorable minions to do the same.

  7. Pedro45 says:

    Nope. The Muslim ban was the opposite of a “snap decision”. Trump campaigned on it literally every day for a year and a half.

  8. African Sun says:

    Not sure about his politics but my goodness, he is gorgeous and looks incredible. I could not stop looking at him in F8.

    Not an intelligent answer but damn, looking good Dwayne!

  9. Don't kill me I am French says:

    I can’t imagine the weight of his ego if he thinks that he is competent to be POTUS. 😒

  10. Jane says:

    He makes perfect sense! It’s weird to ask for celebrity endorsements because you know fans are going to vote for you because their fave celeb is doing so, not because it’s a well-thought-out, objective, rational decision.

    • AmunetMaat says:

      I honestly don’t understand why it’s a celebs responsibility to say or endorse someone. When did that become a part of their job description? If a celeb decides to speak their mind on political issues, then fine, that was on them and I will review their sentiments based on their statements but I’m not holding celeb’s feet to the fire on this. The Rock is not an artist who makes his money by sharing his life and truth (i.e. singer/rapper/writer/etc.) he is an actor and part-time wrestler. He isn’t obligated to tell us these things. He appears to be measuring his words carefully, which I appreciate and I do not mind. If Reagan can become Pres why not the Rock?

      • Inkblotter says:

        Not everything a singer, writer or rapper does is rooted in their own lives, you know.

      • Mary says:

        I think it became part of their job description as soon as “a celebrity” became president

      • AmunetMa'at says:

        @ Mary that’s illogical reasoning to me. So as long as a regular politician is in office celebs aren’t obligated to speak on political opinions but the second a reality tv celeb is in office they are required to? That’s odd reasoning.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      We know that deciding to vote for Trump was not a well-thought-out, rational decision though- and not one that’s turned out to be good for society either.
      I don’t believe celebrities can really sway even the youngest of voters to one side just by endorsing a certain candidate though. What are the chances of some Alt-right bro in his ‘Make America Great Again’ hat who spends time railing against feminism and ‘political correctness’ on MRA -friendly sites, spewing hate speech on twitter and youtube, defending the rights of racists and rapists, being homophobic, and ranting about Muslims and immigrants is going to actually be swayed to vote for Hillary because they happen to be fans of someone like The Rock or Beyoncé? And even if they did, is a person making a good decision for a very stupid, myopic reason worse than them making a bad, destructive, dangerous, toxic one for ‘the right’, objective reasons?

    • DystopianDance says:

      On one hand he admits he’s a people pleaser (that’s his Jobbyjob) then he says he would consider POTUS. This man can’t make up his mind. Keep your day job, Rock. You’re charming, and easy on the eyes.

    • Jessica says:

      I actually think it’s the opposite; I think fans pick their celebs based on their political affiliation. I see so many comments about people claiming to love a celeb until they found out the voted for the opposite candidate (Dem or Rep or even Libertarian). So many people assume fans vote based on their celebs but I just don’t think that’s true.

  11. i, pet goat 2 says:

    Sort of done with him too now, I guess..

  12. BJ says:

    I think he is a conservative like Bruce Willis,Arnold Schwarzenegger,etc.

    • AmunetMaat says:

      I’ve followed the Rock since 1998 and he has never given any indication or inkling of being conservative, whatsoever. None of his actions, comments, or phrases over the years prove that he is conservative. He actually said in this interview that at the moment he’s a registered Independent. So why make baseless inferences?

  13. Lexluthorblack says:

    But isn’t everyone on this forum using a fake username instead of their real name. Isn’t that hypocritical?

  14. AnotherDirtyMartini says:

    Everyone thinks they can be President. Enough already. This is ridiculous.

  15. Irene says:

    At this point I assume any celeb who refuses to take a full-on stand against Trump is actually a supporter who just doesn’t want to admit it. He’s just so vile I can’t imagine any other reason not to publicly reject him.

    • Ariana says:

      Oh my god. This!!!! Finally someone who understands. That’s exactly my thought process

  16. Betsy says:

    No, no, no to the Rock as president. NO. Let’s stop our perverted worship of fame as objective measure of fitness for x. Dwayne, you’re cute and all, but NO.

  17. Ozogirl says:

    I find it refreshing that a celeb stayed out of the “endorsement” ring. It didn’t do Clinton much good anyway and she had some big endorsements.

  18. Apple says:

    Idiocracy 2.0 (Trump is 1.0).

  19. Lyla says:

    He doesn’t get a pass from me. Not calling out trump? Coward.

    And what the f makes him the ns he’s qualified to be potus?

    It’s interesting to see who people will give a pass to. Taylor Swift was called out for not taking a stand. Jon Stewart and Chris Evans were dragged for saying that not all trump voters are bigots (although both Stewart & Evans have since criticized drumpf).

  20. Jessica says:

    He’s a conservative so no.