On Sunday’s episode of the “Ben Shapiro Show Sunday Special,” Ben Shapiro sits down with bestselling author Bret Easton Ellis to discuss how he came to be known for his opposition to the opposition. Video and partial transcript below:
SHAPIRO: You have now come out as anti-anti-Trump, and this has become your calling card in the political world. How did you get to your anti-anti-Trump stance?
ELLIS: Oh yes, OK, my anti-anti-Trump stance. I didn’t want to get involved with it at all, and somehow Trump forces everybody into this narrative that’s about him. I guess it started happening really soon after he announced he was running for president, in the summer of 2015. When he came down that escalator in Trump Tower, I began to become interested in how he was being covered. I can’t say I was particularly interested in Trump. Of course, I’d known about him since he emerged on the scene. I even wrote about him in “American Psycho,” where he is Patrick Bateman’s father figure. Patrick Bateman keeps wanting to meet Trump, wanting to see him, wanting to know what restaurants Trump likes. It’s throughout the books; Trump is mentioned about 40 times in the book. And that was because when I was doing research on the book, I was hanging out with those guys on Wall Street. They all love Trump. And it was something that was really, really kind of unsettling. They all read “The Art of the Deal,” he was an aspirational figure. He had know beautiful women hanging on to him; he had this lifestyle that they all wanted to emulate. And I thought it was amusing to put him in “American Psycho,” but that was really about all that interested me about Trump. Sure, I watched “The Apprentice” which I somewhat enjoyed, and I followed his marriages and his children growing up. But I really didn’t think that I’d have to engage with him on the level that we all had to.
ELLIS: And I began to see how he was being covered in the summer of 2015 and into 2016. There was this disconnect between who I thought Trump was, and what he was trying to do, and how the media was covering him. And it was disturbing and it was bothering me enough that I started to talk about it on my podcast. I also live with someone who is about as far left as you can go. I would say borderline Communist millennial, and his overreaction to Trump also was troubling to me. I just couldn’t understand how Trump could make people melt down and freak out in the way that some of them did. And I talk about this a lot of [in my] life, especially the elites, that I’ve written about most of my life in my fiction. Having dinner with them and seeing them, you know [they] get really incensed over the idea of Trump. I’m talking about months, sometimes a year, after the election. And so yeah, I started talking about how I guess I was anti-anti-Trump. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I was pro-Trump, and I was never a Trump supporter; I didn’t vote for him. But there was something so bothersome, so high-pitched and hysterical about the reaction to him, that it was quite frankly beyond annoying. And that’s covered in “White” and I talk about this a lot on my podcast: What is it about Trump that causes such massive T.D.S (Trump Derangement Syndrome)?
SHAPIRO: The impression that I get from a lot of these folks is that they consider themselves sophisticates, and here comes along this kind of boorish fellow from New York who doesn’t play by any of their niceties, and it’s like they mask their hatred for the affectation with a hatred for his supposed politics. I remember I was sitting at some lunch with David Mamet actually, we are in the middle of Santa Monica. It’s a beautiful day outside and it’s the middle of the day. And yet in Santa Monica where everybody can take lunch off, everybody’s enjoying themselves having $200 bottles of wine, and we’re talking about Trump. And we’re noting to each other that if we said his name, people would pretty much start screaming aloud and talking about how the end of the world was nigh in the middle of this beautiful restaurant because they just had to save America. It just is bewildering living out here, and you deal with these folks a lot more than I do in Hollywood. But there’s this notion that they’re saving the world by being part of the resistance. Where’s this coming from?
ELLIS: That’s a very good question. And it has to stem from something, and I truly believe this, [it’s] Trump’s aesthetics. I’m not even sure if it’s his policies. I’m not even sure if it’s even whatever ideology he might or might not carry with him. It really seems to be aesthetics. It seems to be that this boorish clown walked into the china shop and started knocking things all over the place with his orange skin, and his weird hair, and his kind of persona.
Look I have always said you just cannot take Trump literally; if you take Trump literally, your head is going to explode. You’ve got to understand the overall message that Trump is putting out there because in a lot of ways he is really transparent. He is a transparent person on one level, even if he lies a lot. And you have to be able to juggle that and understand, OK, I get that, when he’s saying [this]. He’s actually meaning this, when he’s saying that. So if you’re going to let this aesthetic really throw you so off course, then you’ve really got to take a big stiff drink at the bar, and start realigning how you feel about this person because what you’re reacting towards and how strongly you’re reacting about it, there’s just a disconnect.
Also, he doesn’t care. I believe he doesn’t care. I know everyone says, “Oh this is really getting to Trump. This is really going to upset him.” I don’t know how much [he cares], and I also don’t know how much the resistance really interests him at all. I mean I don’t know how much he listens to the resistance. But getting back to what you’re talking about, I really believe it all stems from how he looks and how he acts. And maybe [if] he was in a package, like Mitt Romney, maybe [he would] be easier to take.