Jerry Springer: ‘Trump has no business being president!’

Jerry Springer: ‘Trump has no business being president!’

Francine Wolfisz speaks to chat show host Jerry Springer about his support for World Jewish Relief and why he's getting political...

Francine Wolfisz is the Features Editor for Jewish News.

American chat show host Jerry Springer didn't hold back when it came to talking about Donald Trump
American chat show host Jerry Springer didn't hold back when it came to talking about Donald Trump

While the US election campaign was still in full swing, Jerry Springer was unrepentant in his opinion of then-candidate Donald Trump.

“He’s dangerous”, the 73-year-old presenter lashed out. “He’s a very bad example of what America stands for.”

Springer even added that he remained “optimistic” Trump would be rejected.

What a difference a year makes. When we meet again this week, the temptation is there to remind the American television pundit of his remarks.

“Well, that tells you just how much I know!” he laughs, smiling broadly and throwing his hands in the air.

Mock self-deprecation aside, Springer, on a short visit to the UK as a keynote speaker for World Jewish Relief (WJR) events in London and Manchester, actually knows his stuff when it comes to the political world.

While he’s widely known for his controversial talk show, full of fetishes, fistfights and f-words, Springer actually began his career in law following a political science degree and later went on to become a political adviser to Robert F Kennedy.

A former mayor of Cincinnati, Springer has recently been in the headlines amid swirling rumours that he may run for Ohio governor in 2018.

Jerry Springer speaks to Emily Maitlis at the World Jewish Relief dinner in London

Some would probably love him to run for president, but having been born in Britain – during an air raid in 1944 at Highgate Tube Station – there’s little chance he could ever take on that role.

Which brings us neatly back to Trump, the candidate who was elected president, despite Springer’s protestations. Had his views changed at all in the last 12 months?

“I’m not saying he’s a bad human being, I’m just saying he has no business being president,” he asserts.

“He does things that I think are very detrimental to America and to the world.

“He wants to ban Muslims from seven countries – none of which, by the way, had anything to do with 9/11. He wants to deport Hispanics, disenfranchise blacks and disrespect Nato, the very organisation that has kept the world at peace for the last 75 years.

“It’s crazy, it’s almost like he’s putting up a white flag of surrender and saying we’re no longer going to be world leaders. China, Russia, you guys can take over, we’re done.”

Trump’s policies on immigration go hand-in-hand with his thoughts on refugees, a subject close to Springer’s heart.

Indeed, it was thanks to the efforts of the Central British Fund (known now as WJR) that his parents, Margot and Richard Springer escaped Nazi Germany and arrived safely in Britain in 1939. They were among the more than 40,000 refugees rescued by the organisation.

“I believe the lesson of the Holocaust, if there are any lessons from something so horrific, is that you can’t ever discriminate against anybody.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say they saved my parents’ life and I wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for them. My parents were among the last 100 people let out of the country before the war started.

“A month later my sister was born, while I was born during the war. How could I not be grateful for what they had done?”

The rescue was all the more pertinent, given that 27 other family members were murdered by the Nazis. Among them was his maternal grandmother, Marie Kallman, who was taken to Chelmno, while his paternal grandmother, Selma Springer, perished at Theresienstadt.

For Springer, his own family experience has infinitely shaped how he feels about discrimination and the current refugee crisis.

“I believe the lesson of the Holocaust, if there are any lessons from something so horrific, is that you can’t ever discriminate against anybody.

“You can’t ever judge a person based on what they are, only on what they do.

“We have a moral responsibility as Jews to let the world know. We have to be the fighters to help the refugees recognise that today it’s them, but tomorrow it could be you.”

It’s an unsettling thought, but one highlighted by another concern about today’s world – rising anti-Semitism.

At the time of our interview, news has just arrived of a swastika drawn with faeces on the window of the Connecticut studio where The Jerry Springer Show is filmed.

The incident is just another indicator, says Springer, that Trump has somehow whipped up the winds of prejudice and racism in his country.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

“If you create an environment of prejudice, if you give licence to people to say things against any religion, then you’re asking for trouble,” he explains.

In his mind, it’s a situation that amounts to dangerous times not just for Jewish people, but also for Israel and the wider problem of world terrorism.

He tells me: “When you antagonise different religions, you don’t make the world safer for Israel.

“Declaring war on Islam is not to Israel’s benefit, because we need the help of Muslims throughout the world to help find who these terrorists are.

“If you constantly say you are banned from our country, you are a lesser citizen, you people are no good, then why would they help us? Do you not think we are recruiting, in a sense, more people to blow up places?”

Antagonism is something Springer says he observed in Trump’s critical Tweets against London mayor Sadiq Khan, following the recent London Bridge terror attack. It was a reaction he deems “embarrassing”.

“I remember the very day after 9/11, the Queen had a wonderful response. She had the royal guard play the American national anthem in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, as a sign of support from Britain to the US.

“Now London gets attacked and Trump berates your mayor, because he happens to be Muslim. I mean, how embarrassing.

“You don’t go to someone’s funeral and start berating the deceased.

“We need to apologise for that and say it doesn’t represent where America is at.”

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