Graham Beckel Offers Odd Defense of Clint Eastwood 'Esquire' Interview

August 8th, 2016 5:19 PM

During a recent interview with Clint Eastwood -- and his son, Scott  -- on the Esquire magazine's website, the popular actor and director criticized the current atmosphere of political correctness, telling writer Michael Hainey that when he was growing up, people could say a lot more and not be called a racist.

When the Cable News Network decided to discuss that topic, one of the panelists chosen to take part was Graham Beckel, an actor and the brother of liberal CNN pundit Bob Beckel, and the person who dominated the discussion by asserting such notions as the concept that Eastwood “transcends political correctness” and people should “just get over it.”

The segment began with a video in which Eastwood told reporter Brooke Baldwin that he would vote for Donald Trump in the upcoming presidential election because the Republican candidate is “the opposite of political correctness.”

“What Trump is onto is he's just saying what's on his mind,” Hainey said regarding Trump in the interview.

Hainey also noted: “I think he must be practicing the 'Clint squint,' you know, the sort of tough guy affectation, but you know, Clint is a sort of guy who just calls it like it is.”

The blunt opinion is not unusual for the conservative actor, who notoriously talked with a chair that represented Democratic President Barack Obama during his 2012 Republican National Convention appearance.

“He's not alone,” Baldwin asserted. “Other Hollywood types have evoked the same rugged spirit of America: Jon Voight, Duck Dynasty's Willie Robertson and Scott Baio, who said while stumping for Trump in Cleveland: “Folks, our country right now is in a very bad spot. You can feel it.”

With the words “Political Correctness Versus 'The Good Old Days'" across the bottom of the screen, Eastwood called both presidential candidates “boring” in the interview. But in the end, he favors Trump over Clinton because “she's declared that she's gonna follow in Obama's footsteps.

CNN anchor Don Lemon then discussed this topic with a panel of guests, including Beckel, who tape recorded what Eastwood said.

“Putting that into context, you said his age, the times in Hollywood,” Lemon noted: “Explain what you said.”

Beckel responded: “Clint's 86 years old, lives in Hollywood, and 'kissing ass' is the currency of the morale of everybody in Hollywood except people with the tiniest amount of integrity.”

Other than Eastwood, Beckel listed “Warren Beatty, Tommy Lee Jones, Morgan Freeman; people from the Left and the Right” who “have integrity.”

“And I love the poppin' you guys are doing with this corn, over-rating in some kind of racist thing about it,” the actor stated. “I think that's, it's dim-witted and slanderous.”

“How is it being over-rated?” Lemon asked. “Please explain that.”

“Didn't somebody just say what Clinton was saying was racist?” Beckel inquired. “Did I not hear that?”

Beginning to lose his cool, the CNN host stated: “I want you to explain how it's being racist by pointing that out.”

Beckel responded: “Clint Eastwood kind of transcends political correctness as far as I'm concerned.”

Eastwood “said later in the piece that people should just get over it. Those are his words. Those are not mine.”

“I was working with him in San Quentin Prison,” Beckel continued. “We were doing a movie, and we had heavy guards around us, a lot of guards, and right before lunch, they all took off.”

The actor/director added:

Clint led the crew and the cast through the yard. There were 800 prisoners in that yard, and they were black, they were white, they were Hispanic, Asian; whatever God has ever made, the visage of man was in that yard.

It was utterly silent. That man walked into the middle of that crowd, and everybody suddenly burst into applause, and they were cheering him. Why? Because he's the masculine ideal. He's the guy who tells it like it is.

“Granted,” Lemon said, “but what does that have to do with the question?”

Beckel responded with a bizarre query: “How many black soldiers spent the winter with George Washington at Valley Forge?”

The CNN host again asked: “What's your point? What are you trying to get to?”

“I always judge people on would they have spent the winter with Washington?” the actor replied. “Anybody who's running for president, that nobody lately has had that quality, particularly.”

Beckel continued: “It's a perfectly legitimate question. The answer is 700.

After several moments of awkward silence, Lemon stated: “OK, so let's get back to the article.”

While discussing the odd exchange, SooperMexican posted at website: “Bob Beckel has a much less funny but no less crazy brother who is in love with Clint Eastwood and thinks that blacks at Valley Forge with George Washington has something to do with political correctness."

That's "pretty amazing,” the poster noted.