Tim Allen breaks silence on Capitol attack: 'Shameful' and bad for conservatives
As Tim Allen wraps up one show (Fox's Last Man Standing) and prepares to launch another (The History Channel's gadget competition series Assembly Required), the actor gave his thoughts on last week's U.S. Capitol attack during an interview with EW on Tuesday.
The 67-year-old actor and comedian has long been considered one of Hollywood's few outspoken conservatives, though he somewhat pushes back against that label. "I'm a fiscally conservative and an emotionally liberal guy," he says. "I want people taken care of on the social side. I think most people are like that. If you think the government can handle stuff, just look at the rollout of this vaccine."
Weighing in on the Capitol breach by the MAGA mob on Jan. 6, Allen calls it "horrible, embarrassing, and shameful," and has some criticism of President Trump, who has been widely blasted for refusing to accept the general election results and for his inciting rhetoric leading up to, and during, the attack. "Why didn't the powers-that-be go [to the Capitol]?" Allen asks. "When I was watching that, I felt that the president should have been a stand-up guy and go there with his security and say, 'Hey, come on. No, no, no, no.' Maybe they don't allow that."
When I point out that Trump could have told the crowd to leave without going there in person, Allen replies, "He could do whatever he wanted. Go there yourself. Say, 'Come on out, people… I never said any of this. That was not in that speech. I never said, Go storm the Capitol,' or whatever."
(Before the attack, Trump told his supporters at his rally speech, "Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore and that's what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal… And after this, we're going to walk down, and I'll be there with you. We're going to walk down… You have to show strength, and you have to be strong… I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.")
Allen also expresses some disbelief that the mob didn't have some inside help, something some lawmakers have wondered as well, though images have emerged showing protesters shoving, kicking, and punching Capitol officers to get inside. Allen suggests that some of the rioters might not have realized they were breaking the law by breaching the federal building.
"I've been there before and it's impossible to get in that building," Allen says. "I couldn't get in, and I had credentials. They wouldn't let us in. So who opened the door? I got to believe that people at the back [of the crowd] didn't know that they had broken the door. They were going, 'Oh look, they're letting us in.' There were 120,000 people outside that had no idea this was going on. [Ashli E. Babbitt] who was shot was not a radical, she was an Air Force veteran. Why was she shot? It's so sad anybody got hurt over this."
Babbitt was one of five people who died during the attack. She was shot by an officer as she attempted to enter a broken-in window inside the Capitol.
"Let's bring journalism back," Allen adds. "I want the guys with the pencil behind their ear and go out and get the story. I miss reporters that were annoying and just asked questions, asked questions, asked questions — not [gave] their opinion. Go look at local news. If they say there's a fire in Burbank, that's news. The reporter is not telling you, 'It's a remarkable fire caused by stupid people of this [political] party.'"
Since the attack, Allen says, people who tilt conservative, "even by a variance of degrees," are "in the closet now."
"If you were just on the other side of the [political] fence, you're in the closet now because of how shamefully that was handled," he says. "It's an embarrassment for anybody who just didn't like [the Democratic Party]. So there's nothing to say. It would be a great thing to see [President-elect Joe Biden] — and everybody wants him to do well — say, 'That was a stupid thing, let's move on, don't keep harping on it.' But I don't think that's going to happen."
According to the FBI, MAGA activists also might not be ready to move on as thousands of National Guard troops are set to be deployed amid warnings of armed protests planned at all 50 state capitals.
The actor also tackles the subject of social media, something he feels increasingly ambivalent about.
"I've never quite understood what [social media] was about," Allen says. "When my family moved after a family tragedy [when I was a kid] across the country and I went from being in a cool group at one school to being at the bottom [of the social hierarchy at another] and then seeing things from a different point of view. For me, it reminds me of the cool group at school and if you don't agree with them, if you don't play the game right, you get shamed — or I don't know what the right word is. I just had this conversation with somebody about my Twitter account. I asked, 'What am I actually doing with Twitter?' This has been really weird for comedy because of this virus. I have no way to express myself because if you're tweeting it, depending on who you offend, the thought police are going to come back.
"I think they're reacting to gossip," he adds. "And really, is gossip doing anything? Is social media really doing anything? I'm an old philosophy major. If you have a problem with a car and you do some social media about the problem, you ain't done nothing. The car is still not driving, you've just talked about it. Social media is like putting your car in neutral and just revving it. It seems like you're doing something — the car is making noise — but you're not going anywhere."
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