Politics

Matthew McConaughey responds to Beto O’Rourke jab that he won’t voice opinions on major issues

source Getty Images AP

McConaughey says he avoids certain issues ‘on purpose’ but weighed in on Texas abortion bill and new election law

Matthew McConaughey responded Thursday to Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke‘s apparent shade at the actor for failing to be transparent on where he stands on major political issues, saying he was being cagey “on purpose.”

O’Rourke, a former Texas Senate candidate who is mulling a run for governor in 2022, recently complimented McConaughey’s acting abilities but took a seeming shot at him as a political chameleon. “Sway” podcast host Kara Swisher asked him if he was surprised that McConaughey was polling so well in the race for governor, even though he’s not a declared candidate, as surveys show him ahead of both O’Rourke and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in hypothetical matchups.

“No. He’s an incredibly – if you’re talking about McConaughey – he’s a really popular figure whose political views have not in any way been fixed,” the former presidential candidate said. 

“I don’t know, for example, who he voted for in the most consequential election since 1864 in this country,” O’Rourke said. “I don’t know how he feels about any of the issues that we’ve brought up. I’m looking forward to listening to your interview. So I think that might explain part of it. And he’s a good guy who’s done some good work in this state. And he’s a great actor, on top of all that. So no surprise there.”

Swisher asked McConaughey to respond on Thursday on the same podcast a few weeks later.

“Beto, I don’t take that as shade,” McConaughey said. “He called me a good man. I’d say he’s a good man.”

“He believes in what he’s selling and his heart is in the right place and he’s got the right kind of compassion that a liberal-sided politician needs, is necessary,” he continued.

McConaughey said he wasn’t taking many sides of political issues at the moment “on purpose,” instead choosing to focus on discussions of “something larger,” such as the purpose of democracy, and why trust in government is so low.

But pressed by Swisher, McConaughey offered his opinion on some specific pieces of legislation in Texas that recently dominated headlines, such as the Texas Heartbeat Act, which banned abortion after six weeks.

The actor, who has at times bucked conventionally liberal Hollywood, didn’t touch how he felt about abortion in general, saying he’s “been trying to figure how to play God” on that issue, but did say he was uncomfortable with how the new Texas law was implemented.

“This latest move by Texas, it’s a little bit of a – feels a little bit like a back and front, sort pf Roe. v Wade loophole,” he said. “It feels a little juvenile in its implementation to me.” He also had a “problem” with the measure not allowing exceptions for rape and incest and the six-week timeline.

He also touched on the election bill Senate Bill 1, which in part banned drive-thru voting and overnight voting and requires voters to include a driver’s license number or the last four digits of a Social Security number on a vote-by-mail application and the envelope containing their ballot. Democrats deemed the legislation “Jim Crow 2.0” when it was introduced. McConaughey, while not as blunt in his opposition, chided Texas for hopping out on a national level, calling it a “trespass.” He touched on one more topic, reiterating his belief that wearing masks is a “small inconvenience” and support for mandating masks. 

McConaughey, who has not yet made up his mind on whether he’s launching a campaign for governor, explained how he’s “measuring” the decision, by listening to both those encouraging him to run to help fix the political system, and those who warned him he’d be throwing himself in with “a bag of rats.” 

Written by Cortney O’Brien

Categories: Politics

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