Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says celebrity endorsements can give candidates a boost, telling actress Olivia Wilde in an interview that both Hollywood and political figures are “all supposed to be in the attraction business.”
“I would say that celebrity endorsements, whether it’s Hollywood or sports or whatever it is, are valuable in that they attract to the idea that there is an election and that people should be involved,” Pelosi tells the “Richard Jewell” star for a story in The Hollywood Reporter‘s “2019 Women in Entertainment Power 100” issue, published Wednesday.
“We’re all supposed to be in the attraction business,” says Pelosi. “You are, we try to be. People are attracted to celebrity. If that celebrity happens to be knowledgeable about their cause, it is very valuable because people will be attracted to the message.”
Pelosi credits entertainers who “bring knowledge on a subject” for focusing the spotlight on various causes, noting Richard Gere, who’s traveled to Capitol Hill countless times to lobby lawmakers.
“I have seen such dedication, like last week, we were with Richard Gere, and of course he has devoted most of his life to Tibet, so when he comes to speak about it and to its Zen philosophy and the following of the Dalai Lama, it’s so impressive and it does attract attention,” Pelosi tells Wilde.
Wilde — whose mother, Leslie Cockburn, lost a House bid last year in Virginia’s 5th District to now-Rep. Denver Riggleman (R) — says she was anxiety-ridden in anticipation of a phone interview with Pelosi.
“Nancy Pelosi is the highest-ranking elected woman in the history of the American government. This is the fact that I keep repeating in my head as I wait on hold while her press secretary connects us for this interview. I am, suffice it to say, shitting myself,” writes Wilde.
The 35-year-old “Booksmart” director mentioned her mother’s congressional run to Pelosi, asking if going into 2020 the country “has a problem with powerful women.”
“I do think that some people in our country have an issue with it, but I don’t think the country does,” Pelosi, 79, replies.
Predicting there will be a woman elected president in the near future, Pelosi says, “By the way, I would never — nor did I ever when I ran for speaker — ask anybody to vote for me because we should have a woman speaker. That is the worst thing I could say.”
“Someone running for president has to show why they would be best — if they happen to be a woman, that is an enhancement, but people just want to know what your strength is, how you believe that you could do a better job than any other person,” says Pelosi.
The lawmaker also rails against some of the media for President Trump‘s political rise, saying of the press, “All they do is enable him, and that is really a sad thing.”
“I’ve said to many of my friends in the press, ‘You’re accomplices, whether you want to be or not,’ [and they say,] ‘If he’s saying it, then it’s news,'” Pelosi says.
“I don’t think it’s news, but it monopolizes the airwaves. So there is a lot of responsibility to go around in terms of the creation of whatever that is in the White House.”