President Donald Trump boasted Monday of the support of a pop-culture figure, this time the reclusive art-house director David Lynch.
The director, whose works include the television show “Twin Peaks” and films “Blue Velvet” and “Mulholland Drive,” has long cultivated the image of the Hollywood enigma, a chain-smoking transcendental mediation buff whose esoteric works can be as elusive as the interviews he occasionally gives.
Because of that, he may seem like an unlikely candidate to be mentioned at a Trump rally in a high school gym in South Carolina.
But Lynch gave a discursive interview to the British newspaper The Guardian on Saturday - part of a media blitz to mark the release of a memoir, if you could call it that - in which the subject of politics and Donald Trump came up over the course of a morning chatting with a reporter at a studio in one of the three adjacent homes Lynch owns in the Hollywood Hills.
Lynch said Trump had the potential to be “one of the greatest presidents in history,” a statement which was quickly picked up and turned into a story on the right-wing website Breitbart.
So there Trump was mentioning the director’s name on stage in West Columbia, South Carolina, on Monday night, after an earlier retweet of the story.
“This is a Hollywood guy,” Trump said. “The reason I do this is, you know, you don’t hear this. And plenty of ‘em voted for me.”
He went on to read portions of the article off a sheet of paper, including Lynch’s quote about him, and Breitbart’s assertion that Lynch “now appears to believe that Trump may have been the right choice.”
To some observers, Lynch’s comments might have been harder to parse, like just about everything the director puts his hands on.
“He could go down as one of the greatest presidents in history because he has disrupted the thing so much. No one is able to counter this guy in an intelligent way,” Lynch told the newspaper. “Our so-called leaders can’t take the country forward, can’t get anything done. Like children, they are. Trump has shown all this.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Lynch posted a message to his verified Facebook page, saying his quote has “traveled around” and needed an explanation, and that he wishes he and Trump could “sit down and have a talk.” He wrote to Trump:
“Unfortunately, if you continue as you have been, you will not have a chance to go down in history as a great president. This would be very sad it seems for you - and for the country. You are causing suffering and division.
“It’s not too late to turn the ship around. Point our ship toward a bright future for all. You can unite the country. Your soul will sing. Under great loving leadership, no one loses - everybody wins. It’s something I hope you think about and take to heart. All you need to do is treat all the people as you would like to be treated.”
Lynch had told the Guardian that he supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and likely voted on the Libertarian ticket in the general election. And the Guardian noted that “While Trump may not be doing a good job himself, Lynch thinks, he is opening up a space where other outsiders might.” The newspaper did not provide any quotes to back up the statement.
Though Trump has routinely maligned Hollywood figures who have spoken out against him or his policies, he has rushed to embrace the few that have come toward him with open arms. He congratulated comedian Roseanne Barr, a vocal supporter, when her show was brought back to ABC, then attacked the network after it fired her for a racist tweet. He praised the rapper Kanye West after West made supportive remarks about him.