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We are in the belly of the beast, the left coast la la land, we have left the politicians. We have moved on over to show business. And yet even here, even in the heart of leftism, there are some people, including our guest, who have decided it was too much who have decided to walk away. This is a verdict with Ted Cruz.
Welcome back to Verdict with Ted Cruz, I'm Michael Knowles, we are in sunny Hollywood, California. Senator, thank you for flying out here. And also thank you to our guest, a showbiz man, not someone usually in politics, Isaiah Washington. But Isaiah, you have become very politically active here, maybe not of your own desire, but because you have contradicted some of the leftist orthodoxies of Hollywood and they don't take that very well. Yes.
Yes. I have been a contradiction in this town for 24 years. I think a lot of checks from a lot of people did not like a lot of people who did not like me for various reasons. And none of them had anything to do with politics. It had everything to do with microaggression. You know, back in the 90s, there weren't a lot of people that looked like me colorists. And there were certain people like, you know, you may not have heard of Eddie Murphy at Wesley Snipes.
You may have heard. I heard of those guys. Yeah, my namesake. You probably know this guy's name, Denzel Washington. Yes. And the guy was kind of popular, pretty popular that Time magazine named Arsenio Hall. Oh, yeah. You know, Don Cheadle, those guys.
So I studied them back in nineteen eighty eight before I became a California in New York theater. I swore I would never do television because that's not cool. And then you became a big TV star. Oh I did a commercial and I got a check in the mailbox and I was completely corrupted. That is what set me off to study what kind of actor can I be in this town that I know I don't want to be in? So I had to start to figure out the look as my engineering background in the military.
I took 10 years to say what's missing? How can I fit in? Because they have these great names, these great businesses, and they have these Will Smith. And I know they only pick one at a time for whatever reasons, like a pecking order out here couldn't take it personally. So I had to take it in a business way and figure out how can I fit in, how can I catch up? I'm starting late in the game.
So what drew you to the world of acting? Did you always know what you wanted to do or. No, I had a midlife crisis at 20 30 shortly after the space shuttle blew up. I was working as a private sector in Herndon, Virginia, with the organization. And at the time we had a fax. We didn't have Internet 1986. Right, 85, 86. And I was very concerned, a lowly position about orderings. And at the time I was like, you know, we need to take a look at the shelf life.
These are things that are going out in the world now. I don't know if there was a connection. But I knew there was a problem with the hearings for special and it went up anyway, right. And what I started become really politicized after you and I was in the military during the Reagan years, I started seeing things that I didn't want to see, like why are we putting Christa McAuliffe in these people up in the ship when there are some issues?
And all I remember were a lot of people around me going has got to go up. It's got to go up because the president ratings are down. We need we need a boost. Literally went up and it blew up. Yeah, I heard a lot of people we know the story. I think for me, I was clinically depressed because no one I didn't know what to do with the information I had. No one was really listening. I think at the time when I look back on it, it's a good question.
I think I was clinically depressed but didn't know it. And at that point I left, walked away from my wife. I walked away from everything. I walked away from my big screen television back in the 80s, you know, like a big old bowling ball, the big red green look, ugly thing. I had ascot, my pipe. I walked away from my. Cars, everything, ended up homeless and ended up in Windies. Were you in Virginia here when I was in Gettysburg, back with their hungry?
Across the street was sleeping on my lawn, sold all my furniture, I got completely lost it. And I said, I'm going to pretend that I'm going to eat Wendy's burger, that's going to make it a good Wendy's burger when it was really big, thick, squirmy.
Is that where's the where's the beef? Where's the beef? SAT there, smell the food retender that I've eaten and went back. I was no longer hungry. Then at that point I felt like if I can act like I've eaten and I haven't eaten in three days and I asked God if you tell me what I'm supposed to do. I promise you, I will be the best at that thing. Of whatever it is, the next day, I was given an opportunity to audition for a play called Kanchan, I wasn't a dancer.
It wanted me to come and dance. I lied and said I could do a pirouette. I know what appear what was said, can you do a picture? And I didn't know what a picture was. So I looked at all the other guys that was doing these little turns and went out there and made a complete fool out of myself. So they had fun with me. And I said, OK, that's got awful. Can you do a cartwheel?
I did three cartwheels, did not get the job, but I got the attention of another musical director that put me in a play in a church, and that was my first play called Franken Being. So I played a gay character that was infected with HIV, full blown AIDS. Wow. That's my first role. And from there, I got Howard University Bearcats, who's writing a book now who's behind many people from Debbie Allen, Phylicia Rashad, how people went to Howard University.
She put me out, put me on in New York City Kids Original Play, a member for the City Kids Repertory Theater, which is the city at risk. Children like Yoba came out of that and then did a commercial, got the money into one life to live. Next thing I know, I'm in L.A., didn't want to be. But I figured that if I find a role where I can play a thug with a heart. If I can play a thug that look like he's intelligent, like in Romeo Must Die.
Then I might be able to work more than everybody else. So that is what I saw was missing, I saw these stereotypes of bad guys, yeah, but yeah, not really much. I said I need to play a bad guy or a thug that has a little bit more intelligence. And it worked. Well, this is an aspect of Hollywood is there are always just boxes and you got to fit into this box and oh, it's only one or two guys.
They get to fit in that box at a time. That's Sam Jackson. So he created his work so much that he just beat them down with his talent that we just worked so much. That's another way he just became Sam. Jack, but you've you've had a great career in Hollywood.
I have. But, you know, in a certain sense, you don't fit into a box. No, I hit him. I'm the kind of person that. Being a Texan. We try to put me in a box and urinate if you stoneage you, so you and I grew up in the same town. Yeah, he's still a family. They're all dying off or moved out. Unfortunately, my mom passed into two thousand one thing years earlier, you know, so that was my transition.
But I don't have a reason to go back to Houston and go Dave and Buster's anymore or wear my boots anymore. I still have my hat and all that, but I don't have a reason to go back. But yeah, you know, I was in a rodeo. Oh, wow. We did. You know, what we call a mule, sadly, was a big deal. You have to see the mule cry. It's really sad and cry, but they cry.
Blood literally is like they my in this meal this way he doesn't want to move. But that's the demographic for you. Just stubborn. All right. So that's not a popular statement in Hollywood.
What Texas Democrats. Anything about the Democrats that is short on selling all of the above. So. What what's Hollywood's politics like from the inside? I never really knew until I went to the White House to try to support a policy that I believed in that's letting out ninety one percent of the men is getting out of federal prison for first time, offenses looked like me. So when McMeel didn't want to go because Jay-Z told them not to go. And I understand you want to mess with his paper.
Well, you don't read my papers. I had to figure out how to make people on my right, literally. Well, not like the Federal Reserve.
And I literally had to figure out how to survive without you. And I've done that for 12 years. And I always say that I up to that point, I was 12 Years a Slave. So you thought and then I happened, ironically, to be freed. On a tweet from April Fool's Day that I as I tweet of irony, saying, look at this, I'm being blown away with this man getting off this teleprompter and helping these returning citizens let them out of federal prison.
Now we've got a man, a citizen working for acreage named the first orange man, supposedly Botter Siddartha, the biggest cannabis company in the world or is not in the country selling weed. And here I am being ostracized and excoriated for supporting a policy that is freeing our people that look like me, that is costly. So I made a tweet saying, isn't it funny that I was talking to this guy named 40 for Obama, talking about nothing but the black agenda?
Nothing about Africa, really, we promise. But here I am watching this man who's supposed to be a racist, freeing people, poor people.
So that was a big issue for you. That was a big sort of eye opening deal with criminal justice reform. It still is. And I'm really disturbed because the left has tricked these useful idiots up to the point to turn the first step back into not a non sequitur, but like it never made history. It was never all that fighting that everybody had to get behind in a bipartisan way. Now, will you force this man to create a ten year prison term for tearing down monuments?
So now you're going to take these same people that look like me most. I'm not really from here, but still the optics of you taking these people and now putting them back in federal prison, that doesn't seem like an accident to me. Well, and, you know, look, the Democrats, they had eight years of the White House under Bill Clinton, they had eight years of the White House under Barack Obama. They didn't pass criminal justice reform.
They didn't they didn't do anything. And first step back. I was a big supporter of it.
I know I was in the Oval Office when the president signed it. And my view, you know, I've been involved in criminal justice a long time. I see a big difference between violent offenders and non-violent offenders for what we call survival crimes.
Yeah, look, if you've got a young African-American, young Hispanic who who gets busted for possession of marijuana and serves a long prison term, that can really be unjust. And that's a very different crime than someone who's murdered someone. Someone is rape someone you commit violent crime. The whole purpose of law enforcement is to stop violent criminals and keep people safe. But I think the first step back took a very important step to saying if it's a nonviolent crime, you know, some 18, 19 year old kid who made a mistake, this may seem like the only way out.
And it was a mistake, but but ruining the kid's whole life is is not the right step. And it was it was remarkable. That that Donald Trump championed that and that we got it done as a bipartisan matter. Democrats talked about it forever, but never did anything wrong. You're absolutely right. You know. I probably committed more felonies in the military than I've ever done in my private life, really. I made my problem in my first nine hundred fifty thousand dollars selling wheat in the military in the Philippines, some of the top biggest offices and nothing.
But I had to do it because if you didn't, you could get fragged, literally killed in the Philippines. Clark Air Base at this time, this is truth. So it was so bad when I was so deep to survive. That my commanding officer brought me in to talk about this on my podcast, so there's no statute limitations. No, I don't know where the bag of money that I buried in the Philippines is, so don't ask me.
Don't. But I had to do it because I wanted to live. So I understand how corruption works on both sides. We were basically listening to the Stars and Stripes every day. The Russians are coming. The Russians are coming. The Russians are coming. The Russians are coming.
But yet I'm doing these things with other people that have all this metal on their shoulders and we're all going to like the money that we're getting paid by the taxpayers. It wasn't enough, huh? It wasn't enough. And it didn't stop this behavior of corruption. And it was at 19, I was a part of it, too, at the highest level, you know, corruption can be a big issue. It could be a big issue. One thing we talk a lot about on the show is the kind of diversity of thought on the right among conservatives.
So so we've gotten you're kind of acting in professional evolution. Did you have a political evolution? It would seem at one point you would have said you were on the left and then you were on the right, or maybe not.
Maybe I have that wrong. Well, my acting, like I was saying, started at 19. I had to act like I was a decent human being as a as an airman. We all had to act like we were professionals. Now, imagine I'm 19, but I can't go off the base and drink alcohol because I'm not twenty one. When I go back to Hollywood for base. My point is, the cool thing is that I saw so much things, so many things that didn't add up, coming as a little country boy out of Houston.
But you go to church. It was white and it was black. There was no great line between. My point of bringing that up is, is that people have to do what they have to do if they didn't have the opportunity to do what they were supposed to do. And what I mean by that, I didn't get the scholarships to go to the colleges I wanted to go to because there was corruption in my high school. I will erase high school.
The coach decided who's going to get a kickback to try to send me to a smaller program. That was the first scandal, so I've been a part of scandals since I can remember, I've been part of dealing with things where you go and I've never really been political until I decided who was in power while Reagan was in office. So Reagan is our boss, I think, get the vote. So whatever Reagan says, Reagan, we have to do to the point when I finally got in the elevator, I'm like, why are we sitting at five to Central America?
Why are we sending live ordnance in Thailand? Only to find out that we were doing things we weren't supposed to do with taxpayer's money? Why are we dropping bombs in Vietnam? Oh, well, somebody wanted to clear out all the landmines or who for what now, not wartime situation. So a lot of money. Shut up, Airman. Now find out what is a big resort being built and that you were active duty for how long? Four years before you got out.
So about politics. I became political by saying that I'm working for corporations. I'm not working for you or you. I'm not working for the people. And I found out about it from nineteen twenty one. I want nothing to do with this. And then I got a job in the private sector, Reagan, and he's got a bump. People die. So this seems like I've always been reminded of people that are doing things they shouldn't be doing, but they make it look like it's really cool, this is the right thing to do and it's really great.
Tell us about the walk away movement and and what what that means to you. Well, a friend of mine. Who's a Sierra Leonean who went to me with to Sierra Leone when I got my citizenship and I want to see how I can help the most stigmatized country in West Africa that couldn't get any help. Talk to all the senators, Senator Obama at the time about how we can remove the stigma of this country. She didn't like how was treated in the press, again, to bring up the.
There that wasn't accurate in the first place of my exit of this ship. Right. So at this point, I actually got angry. I thought I was a good guy, like, OK, I should have said what I said to go close. I've been drinking. I told the truth. But wouldn't a good place to say that, OK, you know, you don't say the word that everybody's accusing you of saying it was not a good idea.
But I told the truth. Not a lot of it is truth. So this comes back up again and again, I'm not doing anything wrong. I decide I'm going to walk away, so she said, you need to join and walk away. I didn't know it was a good term. So everything I was tweeting I was pissed off about and reminding the people of my good works. I use hashtag walk away so much that it got Brandon. Stroke's attention is like, dude, that's my brain.
Like, What are you doing? Are you with me or you're against me? Like, what's going on? So he hit me like who you are. Brandon struck or struck, a deal struck. So we got together, got on Varney and company. We linked up. I supported him and use my platform and then I started tweeting like crazy, started tweeting like crazy and it started driving the Democrats crazy. Everybody attacked me. April Ryan, everybody, Roland Martin.
I crushed everybody that came to me, Marc Lamont Hill. I crushed them because they didn't know me on Twitter. I get very blue. Yeah. I'm not scared. I will cut you out. And some of the most extraordinarily creative ways on Twitter are not very entertaining.
Well, and they all blocked me. This is something about Hollywood. As senator, you've spent a lot of time in Hollywood. I mean, it's kind of like an unknown fact of politics that a lot of Hollywood conservatives have supported you for years and you've known them. And the thing about Hollywood is they're very big characters, very eccentric personalities out here. And yet it's so weird to me that you got this whole fun place with such wild characters and personalities.
And yet when it comes to politics, they're all exactly the same. They're all identical ideology. And if you disagree with that, you get kicked out. I found out why why I was talking to a person that will remain nameless. But I was at an event and he asked me, man, what are you doing? You're hurting me. That's what he talked about. You're killing me, you're on the wrong team, he says, if I don't get this mayor re-elected, if we can't get Trump out of here, I'm gonna lose my access to the back.
And I said, what are you talking about? This is meant. I got great opportunities, I got kids, man, I want my bill, my foundation of wealth, and these people will let me know where all the residential places I can get all the inside information, what I can invest in if I lose them. I don't know anybody in the Conservative Party. I don't know any Republicans. They don't like me. I don't have a relationship with them.
It has nothing to do with politics. These people in Hollywood are fighting for their greed.
So you're saying it's an establishment? It's it's a personal interest kind of thing. I mean, you see this completely talked about this with China, right? The relationship between Hollywood and China and Italy.
And as you know, Hollywood is terrified. Piss off China.
They've been broke since 2008. Yes. China has paid for it. There's a man named John Lasseter. Yeah. I think he's still run Will Smith's company. Yeah, I got invited to a special and I mean, I felt like I got the look and we can hear them understand the Mandarin. I feel like I was at the U.N. So somehow I don't know why they invited me. I'm like I'm like I'm like the big tattletale, like I'm the wrong guy.
I know you show up on podcasts and talk about it, right? I'm John. John is arrogant and other people are arrogant. And the Chinese are sitting there talking about the different levels of copyrights like this. Twenty four levels of copyright, like if you try to sue them on one, it's like, no, you can't because it's I learned so much from these Chinese and all they were asking in a special meeting with SAG after was give us some respect.
You didn't respond gently enough and you know, you didn't make him a star. Just take one of our Chinese people and just actors and make them a huge star like Tom Cruise. Like like Meryl Streep. And they fell asleep. The guy fell asleep on the stage, I say to John. I saw you do it, he fell asleep actually. He fell asleep on the stage in front of the Chinese that's paying his bills. All of them, each one of the major executives, they fell asleep like they had no care.
They played the game like, yeah, we're broke. Well, Hollywood is paying the bill would China, rather, is paying the bills for Hollywood, but it seems that there's a political dimension of this as well. It's not just that they're infiltrating Top Gun or something. There's an agenda here on the international level. So as you know, I just got sanctioned by China, but by the communist government of China. They announced that I am banned from China.
Why? Because I don't like communists and I criticize them and call them out. The communist government of China, they're murderers. They're torturers. They've got one million wiggers in concentration camps right now. They're censoring. And and by the way, among other things, their censorship helped create the coronavirus pandemic because you had Chinese suggestions they censor. Did you say that the virus is from China?
It is from China. Say that. And the Chinese government is responsible. You say that this is a pandemic, that this is to say China attacked us. Do you know that's when the whistleblower's Chinese doctors in December of last year said, hey, we got an outbreak here, this is a problem. The Chinese government arrested them and said you cannot any responsible government would step in, send health professionals, quarantine the people. And this this may well have been stopped as a regional outbreak in all of the death, all of the economic shutdown, all of the misery could have been stopped.
But the Chinese government didn't do that. And I've been calling them out. And so you ask why they sanction me. One of the reasons they sanctioned me is in October, I flew to Taiwan and I flew to Hong Kong and I met with the protesters in Hong Kong. They don't know a million people in the streets. I did one of the Sunday shows dressed in all black in solidarity with the protesters. Are you asking for oh, you better look, my my dad was imprisoned and tortured.
I got to go get us all. I'll take this. No, look, I'm really sad.
I don't like communists. I don't like it doesn't work. And yet my dad was imprisoned and tortured in Cuba. My think Sonya was in prison and tortured by Fidel Castro, you know. And so when it comes to standing up to communist. I'm eager to do so, and I got to tell you, Hollywood is scared. They're not scared. They just don't have a personal interest to protect anyone who's not part of the club. It's about building their foundation wealth.
It's about like purge, what Ethan Hawke did to the character, the one black character to try to help his dog. And he said, So I will save you and I'm will help save you. And they still stabbed and almost tried to kill him in the movie. It's just, you know, a thankless job. Do you think amid all of this, there's any hope that you're right? I guess it was a crazy premise to begin with.
You don't think there's any way that Hollywood is going to break apart from the leftist consensus that they enforce?
I wanted you to explain the H.R. seven forty eight, how they became one thing became the CARE Act. But that's another like one minute was this. A lot of people hit me like, wait a minute, this was done before he shut down. You know, why is this the bill this way? But my thing is. No, no, it's not about that. It's about distraction. No one's asking the right questions. Why would Bob Iger step down?
Why? You've got to why not open up a nation as large as California makes all this money driving car? Why are you going to lose all this money when you are a state that has produces 33 percent of all of the wealth into this nation? Just just put up a wall and just say, you want us to see justice be our, you know, our respected Democrats and given to Nancy Pelosi, and I'm Laha.
If you say you want to kill us, you want to, like, really hurt veterans and bring in illegal immigrants, you don't want to close the borders.
Just just tell us you want us to see. Just stop playing at this thing, don't hurt innocent people, let's just get it on. Well, as I am, I'll make a prediction right now. Please do. Which is if Joe Biden wins, God forbid. No, I don't want him to win. But if he wins, I know what's going to happen. The day after he wins, they'll declare everything's better, they'll open up the schools, that will open up the economy, suddenly they'll say, everyone go back to work.
And you're seeing so many people in politics, in the media that just hate the president. They want everything shut down. They want every school, they want every business. They want everything shut down right until Election Day because they think it'll change the outcome.
And if they were to happen, I can sit here and safely tell you that there are six million people that will be very, very. Happy to see Biden try to go into the White House, you will have a civil war and it will be over within six months. Guarantee. How do I know, I know, and the one thing we know, too, is unfortunately we are not going to have we could go on we could go on for hours.
But unfortunately, the one thing we do know pertaining to Hollywood is the revolution will be televised or maybe it will be live streamed. I should mention to Isaiah before before we head out, you have a show on Fox Nation. You've got kitchen talk on Fox News, which you've got to check out with Isaiah Washington. And the next time, well, hopefully California does not secede before we can get the senator back out here. And we'll have to continue the conversation next time.
I am Michael Knowles. This is a verdict with Ted Cruz.