14 Celebrities Explain Why They Support Donald Trump (or Not)

Trump
Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on March 9. Jonathan Drake/Reuters

Susan Sarandon set off a media firestorm last week by suggesting she'd vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.

The only problem: Sarandon, an avowed Bernie Sanders supporter, never actually said she'd support Trump. The following celebrities, however, have announced plans to vote for Trump, for a variety of reasons. Some of them think Trump will do away with dreaded "political correctness." Others admire his business skills. Others are friends with him. Still others just think he's the only Republican candidate who can win.

[Related: How Confused Are the Celebrities Who Support Donald Trump?]

We asked more than a dozen pro-Trump celebrities to tell us why they're supporting the billionaire's presidential bid. (Several of our respondents told us they're rescinding earlier statements of support for Trump.) The quotes that appear below were provided to Newsweek in the context of emails or phone interviews, except where otherwise noted.

STEPHEN BALDWIN, actor

"The first policy of his that I favor is this guy is gonna take a stand when it comes to the BS of the PC—the political correctness. The BS about the political correctness, How many decades have we been saying that the machine is broken and this and that? I've done my own radio show, which I just stopped doing after seven years. I had a supporter of Barack Obama tell me on the air, 'Yes, I accept Barack Obama's lies because that's just what you have to do now in politics to get things done.' I don't think Donald Trump agrees with that.

"But I have said this: I think people are intrigued by him and curious about a Donald Trump presidency just because he's unafraid to speak his mind, and it's kind of refreshing to many people to see him be human and make mistakes instead of feeling as though, in that politically correct way, he has to be perfect and this and that. Politicians are more concerned about what everybody thinks about them [than] what they need to do to make the lives of those people better without compromising. That's the charge that I see Trump leading that people are responding to....

"I was at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington a couple months back, and there almost seems to be—there's obviously more of a turmoil within the conservative base: Will Trump stand up and represent those values? etc., etc. I had one guy come up to me, who's a friend of a friend. He's a Christian. There's an old expression, 'When you want to heal someone, you can pray for them by laying your hands on them. Put your hand on their shoulder and say a prayer.' He says, 'So I hear you're a Trump supporter.' I said, 'That's true.' He said, 'Can I lay some hands on you and pray for you about that?' 

"He was poking some fun at me, and that was OK. He went into this long soliloquy of reasons why that wasn't a good idea. When he was finished, I simply said this: 'I have a question.' And he said 'Yes?' 'Do you want to win?' I said. 'If we've had eight years of the left, and now there's a potential for the right to come back into power,' I just said to the guy, 'Do you want to win? Because if we don't win, then this conversation is moot.' He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Good. Because the only guy who can win is Trump. Period.'"

Stephen Baldwin Actor Stephen Baldwin takes part in a panel discussion of NBC Universal's series "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice" during the 2013 Winter Press Tour for the Television Critics Association in Pasadena, California January 6, 2013. Gus Ruelas/Reuters

AARON CARTER, singer/pop star

"I understand Donald Trump has filed bankruptcy four times. We have a $200 trillion deficit. And I'm in a 40 percent tax bracket now with the money that I make. So I'm a moderate Republican, you know?... I can see that he is a driven man and he likes to do things his own way. That's why I said, 'Do we want a president that follows or do we want a president that leads? I vote Donald Trump.'

"I mean, I'm not gonna rescind [support for Trump]. But at the same time, I'm going to make sure that I stand my ground. And I stand my ground. And I stand my ground into things that I don't support about Donald Trump. And that's really important, because there's always room for change. There's always room for growth. Who knows if Donald Trump becomes the president? When he becomes president, which I think he will be, and makes our country a better place, maybe they'll thank him then.

"He might have some twisted views on some things that are stupid, that he should not be even tapping into. But...in 2001 or 2002, he was a part of some sort of liberal petition or something to get gay marriage and all of that approved. And he stood by it. I guess we just gotta see how it plays out and see what happens."

(Editor's note: Trump has never actually supported gay marriage. After telling Newsweek why he was supporting Trump, Aaron Carter tweeted that he's reconsidering voting at all.)

TED NUGENT, musician

Why did you decide to support Donald Trump's presidential campaign?
Be sure you differentiate between "support" and "endorse," for I do support Trump but at this time do not endorse him. I support Donald and other GOP nominees because we are long overdue sending a clear and unambiguous message to the failed GOP establishment that we are sick and tired of their compromising away America. I will vote for the GOP nominee over the criminal and Communist Democrat nominees because I have a functioning brain, a heart and a soul.

Do you support Trump's comments about immigration and his plan to block Muslims from entering the country?
I support his real statements—not the dishonest misrepresentations as bandied about by the media.

Can you elaborate? Mr. Trump himself has called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."
America must err on the side of security during a dangerous war on terror, where Americans’ lives trump hurt feelings and political correctness.

What effect has your support of Trump had on your career or personal life?
Don't know and don't care.

Have any fans or friends turned their backs on you since you voiced support for Trump?
Don't know and don't care.

Anything else you'd like to add about celebrities endorsing Trump?
No. Celebrity is overrated.

AZEALIA BANKS, rapper/singer (via Twitter)

SCOTT BAIO, actor, TV star

"I agree with most of what he says. Not everything. Just like I don’t agree with everything anybody says. The only person I agree with 100 percent of the time is me. His policies, most of them, I like. I like the way he talks. I like that he’s [a] tough guy. Everybody’s opinion of that varies.

"Listen, honestly, I want him to go in there, and I want him to shake it up. I can’t stand the Republicans anymore. I think they’re a waste of space and time. I don’t consider myself a Republican anymore. I consider myself a conservative independent because they’ve lied to me for so long. They’ve used me, actually, is what they’ve done.

"The big thing for me is this: I don’t know if you’re a Democrat or Republican. It doesn’t really matter. The Democrats attack viciously and constantly, and they don’t give up. They play dirty. And the Republicans always feel like they have to stay above the fray or the independents won’t like them. But the independents seem to like Democrats when they get vicious. I don’t understand their logic in that. I feel that the Republicans—fortunately, Trump is one, or he’s in that party—need somebody to just go on the attack constantly. And he’s the only guy with the will to do it.

"I think Ted Cruz is a good man. I agree with a lot of the things he says. I would have no problem if he were president. John Kasich, I’ve spoken with him at length. Nice man. Great governor. But this Kumbaya stuff doesn’t work anymore. We have to go on the attack, and we have to win. Trump is the guy who will do that. And I don’t care what he attacks. Just attack, because that’s what they do. Look what happened to McCain and Romney. The nice-guy shit doesn’t work."

CHINGY, rapper

Chingy tweeted on January 22, "Politics vs society. People should innerstand that politics is a business jus like the job you work at. I vote for @realDonaldTrump YEP 3."

But now Chingy tells us he's not supporting the orange-haired mogul after all: "I didn't know about the negative things Donald Trump has said in the public as far as Mexicans go, as far as Muslims go. I didn't know none of this. I wasn't aware of none of the negativity he had put out there. I was basically making a statement off of the good I heard Donald Trump doing. Like I said, I know him from being a good businessman. That's kind of what drove the whole idea and concept of me even saying what I said.

"Now with that being said, I agree with the good things, but I definitely disagree with wanting to send Muslims back to [their] country. Wanting to send Mexicans back to Mexico or whatever. I'm not with that. I have lots of Mexican fans. [Mexican immigrants] have established homes and established families. It's kind of too late to be trying to send them back to anywhere."

PETE ROSE, former baseball champion and manager

From a representative: "Pete has made a point not to 'endorse' any particular presidential candidate. Though he respects everyone who works hard for our country, any outlet that misinterpreted a signed baseball for an endorsement was wrong. Pete did not send any candidate a baseball or a note of endorsement.

"That said, through my discussions with Pete about this cycle, I've learned that he believes that who to vote for is a decision each voter should decide for him- or herself. Pete knows and has impressed upon me that, above politics, it's leadership and teamwork [that] make all the difference. Both the left and right are baseball fans, and it is those institutions and their people that make America exceptional."

Trump U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally in West Allis, Wisconsin, United States, April 3, 2016. Jim Young/Reuters

TILA TEQUILA, reality TV personality, model

"He may say a lot of things that people don't agree with, but I think that's what makes him trustworthy. He's got the guts to say what he actually feels. He's fighting for America. People have forgotten that they live in America. They're so focused about other countries and what everyone else is doing outside of here that they're willing to let us go to shambles. People are so confused. They think he's a racist and all these things. And comparing him to Hitler. He's not like that at all...

"I see lots of things online with these groups of people. They're, like, Bernie Sanders supporters. They get really angry and kind of violent. They're trying to say that Donald Trump supporters are. But actually, we're not! It's just strange because we're doing what we feel is right. I'm not going out there attacking others. If you like Bernie or Hillary, I'm not gonna go attack you and have all this profound hatred.

"I feel like people forgot how to have fun. I know running a country is not all about fun, but it should be. People should live with freedom, fun, and reach for your dreams. If this is Donald trump's dream—plus, we would have a really cool First Lady. I was not involved in politics when I was younger because it was so bland to me. What kind of youth wants to get involved with politicians? Nobody! But with Donald, I think he could turn that around and make it fun again and have the youth get involved. With the youth getting involved, then they show less apathy towards their future and themselves. Like I said, now that I have a daughter, I want to make sure that there's a future for her where she's not going to be shamed for everything that she does.

"I definitely don't think he's like Hitler. I know I've had run-ins with problems with that in the past. I mean, I'm a different person. I'm more awake and sober with my life. But I really don't think he is anything like Hitler. Because Hitler was actually, he had the entire nation under a spell and that was scary, because he had too much power and it was a very serious, dark time."

JESSE JAMES, reality TV star, motorcycle customizer

"He manages a huge empire. I have my own businesses and manage all my own stuff. That’s the kind of skills we need. We don’t need some clown that’s gonna play saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show. 'Oh, he seems like a good guy, let’s make him president.' No! This is a job interview—we need the best person for the job that’s going to get stuff done. Which means there’s going to have to be some hard, unpopular decisions made. He’s prepared to live like the jerk and make those hard decisions if it’s for the betterment of the country. You know? As far as hardcore policies, I’m glad he’s not up there saying, 'I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do that.' Because that’s what every politician does. I don’t want to hear that. I want to hear someone that’s down to work hard, you know? Everybody else that’s running on both sides, this is their job. This is the only thing they got going. He’s got a lot of other stuff to do. A lot of other stuff he could be doing. He loves his country this much that he’s going to pause everything to make, what, 400 grand a year?

[I support Trump] 100 percent for his work ethic. His skills as far as managing and running stuff and making the right decision—that guy works his ass off.  You’d be hardpressed to say that about anybody that’s in politics right now. If my tax dollars are going to go to anybody, it’s going to be the same as when I pay my employees. I pay the hardest workers. And that’s what I want. I want my tax dollars to go for someone that works hard."

Kid Rock Kid Rock performs during Live Nation’s National Concert Day in New York May 5, 2015. Lucas Jackson/Reuters

KID ROCK, rock star

The rocker's rep told us he's "not doing any political press at the moment," but Rock previously explained his support for Trump in a Rolling Stone interview

"I'm digging Trump. I feel like a lot of people, whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, feel like if you get Hillary or Bernie, or you get Rubio or Cruz or whoever, there's going to be the same shit. Has that much fucking changed when anyone's in office, whether it's been a Republican or a Democrat in office, in our lifetime anyway? I haven't really seen this big, like, fucking change. Obviously some people fucked up. [Laughs.] That's a long debate. My feeling: Let the motherfucking business guy run it like a fucking business. And his campaign has been entertaining as shit."

JON VOIGHT, actor

The actor's publicist told us he's not doing any interviews at the moment, but Voight earlier expressed his strong support for Trump in a statement to Breitbart.com. Here's a sample:

"I, Jon Voight, can say, without hesitation, that Donald is funny, playful, and colorful, but most of all, he is honest. When he decided to run for president, I know he did it with a true conviction to bring this country back to prosperity. He is the only one who can do it. No frills, no fuss, only candid truths. There are many Republicans fighting to keep him from winning the Republican nomination. You know why? Because he has no bull to sell, and everyone will discover the bull most politicians spew out is for their own causes and benefits. They never dreamed they would be losing control."

GARY BUSEY, actor

From a representative: "Mr. Busey does not officially endorse or support any political candidate and is not interested in doing any political publicity at this time." (Editor's note: Busey reportedly endorsed Trump in September.)

LORETTA LYNN, country singer 

The country legend's publicist ignored our interview requests, but Lynn explained why she's "sold" by Trump in a Reuters interview: "I just think he’s the only one who’s going to turn this country around. I’m going to let him call me.”

MIKE TYSON, boxer

The world heavyweight champ's rep told us he's "not doing any interviews on this matter," but he previously explained his support for Trump to The Daily Beast

"That shit is the real deal. Listen: I’m a black motherfucker from the poorest town in the country. I’ve been through a lot in life. And I know him. When I see him, he shakes my hand and respects my family. None of them—Barack, whoever—nobody else does that. They’re gonna be who they are and disregard me, my family. So I’m voting for him. If I can get 20,000 people or more to vote for him, I’m gonna do it."