KISS founder Gene Simmons was once a contestant on Donald Trump’s network TV program The Celebrity Apprentice and was friendly with the former president long before he took office. Now, Simmons has come out to blast Trump’s presidency for normalizing racism and conspiracy theories.
In a new interview with SPIN, Simmons discussed the cause-and-effect of Trump’s behavior and policies. As is typical with Simmons, there were no minced words.
“I know the previous [US] president,” Simmons said. “I knew him before he entered politics. Look what that gentleman did to this country and the polarization — got all the cockroaches to rise to the top. Once upon a time, you were embarrassed to be publicly racist and out there with conspiracy theories. Now it’s all out in the open because he allowed it.”
Simmons went on to compare Trump the “entrepreneur” versus Trump the president.
“You have a different responsibility when you’re just a citizen or an entrepreneur,” Simmons said. “You don’t make policy. It doesn’t affect life and death. When you get into a position of power, it does affect lives.”
He added: “I don’t think he’s a Republican or a Democrat. He’s out for himself, any way you can get there. And in the last election, over 70 million people bought it hook, line and sinker.”
Simmons wasn’t overly complimentary of the current US president Joe Biden, either, suggesting he may not be fit for another term, if he should decide to run again.
“The current president [Joe Biden], I like the ethics and morality — not a charismatic guy, unfortunately,” Simmons stated. “The first word I keep hearing from people, even friends is ‘feeble.’ I don’t think he should run next time. So then who’s around? There are no stars and invariably people vote for stars, not even what they believe in. The cult of personality. Americans are star obsessed: ‘Kylie’s got a new lip gloss? F**k!'”
In the past, Simmons defended Trump’s tendency for incendiary remarks, comparing it to his own affinity for off-color statements. However, Simmons also said he didn’t “necessarily” vote for Trump or Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and declined an invitation for KISS to play Trump’s inauguration in 2017.
As for KISS, they kick off a new European leg of their ongoing farewell tour on June 1st in Dortmund, Germany. They’ll then hit Australia in late August before returning to the States for the Louder Than Life and Aftershock festivals in the fall. Pick up tickets to most of their upcoming shows via Ticketmaster.