Gene Simmons Says Donald Trump ‘Allowed’ Racism + Conspiracies to Be ‘Out in the Open’
KISS legend Gene Simmons, in a new interview with SPIN, chatted about the band's ongoing farewell tour, his desire to take the show to new places and spurned former U.S. President Donald Trump for openly allowing racism and conspiracies to be "out in the open."
The bassist and ex-President knew each other prior to the 2016 election, going back to when Simmons had been a contestant on the seventh season of the Trump-hosted reality TV show The Apprentice in 2008. While Trump was in office, Simmons was cautious about levying too much criticism, especially early on in the four-year term, but that tone has changed in recent years and continues to condemn certain aspects of his presidency.
When asked by SPIN about his experience performing in Russia and Ukraine, Simmons praised the "wonderful people" in both countries and pointed out their the views of the citizens are not directly reflective of their governments.
Speaking more directly about Russia, Simmons lamented the fact that the country "never had democracy as we know it in their entire history" while taking note of the deep levels of corruption present "from top to bottom."
After praising the citizens of Russia again, the KISS bassist stated, "And when the wrong guy comes into power, it changes the soul of the country."
It was this remark he used as a launchpad to segue into U.S. politics, where he then fixed his commentary on the twice-impeached Trump. "I know the previous [U.S.] president. 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 declared.
"We knew each other before that, in clubs and all that. You have a different responsibility when you’re just a citizen or an entrepreneur. You don’t make policy. It doesn’t affect life and death," he continued, "When you get into a position of power, it does affect lives. 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."
Shifting his attention to Trump's successor, President Joe Biden, Simmons expressed support his character but explained why perhaps a different Democrat should run in the 2024 election.
"The current president [Biden], I like the ethics and morality – not a charismatic guy, unfortunately," he said. "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? Fuck!”
If there is one thing we can potentially all agree on as rock and metal fans, it's that we don't care about Kylie Jenner's latest lip gloss. Right?
Elsewhere in the interview, Simmons reiterated (again) that rock is dead, but we've already debunked why that is not as true as the rocker thinks. Before rock takes its supposed final breath, catch KISS on their farewell tour at these dates.