The Newsroom's Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, might be a fictional character, but that doesn't mean he's opting out of commenting on the 2016 presidential election. In a video produced by Bloomberg Television, McAvoy rants over Donald Trump's candidacy during a prime-time news feature hosted by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Daniels' cameo is completely in keeping with his character's scathing critiques of the United States during early episodes of The Newsroom.
During the premiere episode of the HBO series, McAvoy used his news anchor position to talk some sense into his audiences and crush the perception that America is the "greatest country in the world." At the time, "Make America Great Again" was not a slogan used to make much of America shudder.
We sure used to be [the greatest country in the world]. We stood up for what was right! We fought for moral reasons, we passed and struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were, and we never beat our chest ... We aspired to intelligence; we didn't belittle it; it didn't make us feel inferior. We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn't scare so easy. And we were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men, men who were revered. The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one — America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.
Now, McAvoy faces a candidate who, in some ways, isn't all that different from him. Trump, like McAvoy, does not believe America is "great" anymore. And like the fictional news anchor, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee makes little effort to avoid controversy, and garners more attention by speaking what he believes to be the truth. However, as McAvoy expresses in his latest rant, the two men have quite different views of what it takes to, as Trump would say, "make America great again." In short, the character is not a fan of the businessman-turn-politician.
During the short segment, McAvoy is asked what makes Trump the best-case scenario rival for Clinton. Per usual, McAvoy gives a snarky answer that dodges the point. Mimicking the college professor who interviews him in the first episode of the series, the host says, "I'm going to hold you to an answer on that." Enter the dramatic instrumentals:
He’s not the best-case scenario, John. That’s my answer. Donald Trump is a fact-bending loose cannon who alienates mainstream voters with everything he says. But he gets constant media attention for free. There won’t be a day from now until November when Trump isn’t on every TV channel.
And why, McAvoy asks, couldn't Clinton be elected? The character, who's clearly memorized a diverse array of facts and figures, lists off countries that have already chosen female leaders. As the camera pans around the newsroom, the producers look stunned. Another reason, by the way, America might not be the greatest just yet.
And with a straight face, you're going to tell me that electing a woman is unprecedented? Germany elected a female chancellor. Brazil elected a female president. Denmark, Poland, Korea, Argentina, Norway, Liberia, Cyprus -- they're run by women!
And that doesn't mean McAvoy's necessarily over the moon about a Clinton nomination, either. According to him, only 22 percent of Democrats feel "enthusiastic" about her potential nomination. He also jokes that she has the most emails deleted.
... So when you ask 'what makes Trump the best-case scenario for Hillary?' I don't know what the f*ck you're talking about! His tiny hands?
Nearly four years have passed since the first episode of The Newsroom aired, and McAvoy has still managed to avoid taking political sides. By the look of it, our nation has a long way to go before it achieves its former status as the "greatest country in the world," according to McAvoy.