PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire — Actor Alec Baldwin has gotten a lot of attention for his impersonation of President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” but one Republican state senator says his upcoming appearance at a state Democratic Party fundraiser is hypocritical.
Sen. Dan Innis, of New Castle, accused the state Democratic Party of engaging in a double standard by having the actor as keynote speaker at its inaugural Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner at the Manchester Downtown Hotel Sunday. Innis, an openly gay man, called on his Senate District 24 opponent, Dr. Tom Sherman, and other state Democrats to boycott the dinner because of Baldwin’s past homophobic remarks and rude behavior to women, including his own daughter.
“Mr. Baldwin has a long history of making abusive comments to and about women, including his own daughter, as well as making homophobic remarks that I find personally offensive,” Innis stated in a letter to the editor. “But in the minds of New Hampshire Democratic Party leaders, especially party chair Raymond Buckley, apparently doing an (admittedly pretty funny) impression of President Trump is enough to forgive Mr. Baldwin for years of making bigoted and homophobic remarks. One would think that Buckley, an openly gay man, would pause to consider the impact of abhorrent remarks like those made by Alec Baldwin on the LGBT community.”
Baldwin has gotten into trouble on several occasions, including a leaked 2007 voicemail to his daughter Ireland in which Baldwin yelled he would get on a plane “to straighten (her) (expletive) out,” calling her a “rude, thoughtless little pig” after he became frustrated she would not pick up the phone when he was scheduled to call her. He also yelled a homophobic slur at a paparazzi photographer outside his New York apartment in 2013, which led to his firing at MSNBC, and in 2014 when he told a former aide of 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Twitter he could, “polish (Baldwin’s) Emmy awards, while you’re on your knees.”
Baldwin has since issued several public apologies for his behavior.
During an interview with Seacoast Media Group’s editorial board, Buckley defended the party’s decision to invite Baldwin and deflected the question, raising the issue of at least 22 women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct including harassment, groping and rape, according to reports. Buckley did not answer whether he was offended by Baldwin’s past statements.
“When you take into consideration what he has said and what is portrayed of what he has said and you compare that to the president of the United States, it’s simply night and day,” Buckley said. “There (are) no allegations of Alec Baldwin in any way sexually raping, molesting or attacking anyone.”
Innis said comparing Baldwin’s comments to the accusations against the president was “ridiculous” and an attempt to cloud the real issue of Baldwin’s past behavior.
“Alec Baldwin is an offensive person and he is a poor choice for the Democratic Party to speak at their event,” Innis said. “It goes against everything the party claims to support.”
Sherman said he is unable to make the dinner due to a prior commitment and is not boycotting the event, but added he did not support the decision to invite Baldwin based on his history of distasteful comments.
“In today’s world with a lot of focus on respecting women, civil rights; it’s an unfortunate choice,” Sherman said. “I’m opposed to people who denigrate others on all levels. I’m not part of the Democratic leadership, so I’m not sure what they thought. Until I talk with everyone in the party involved with this decision, I feel it’s not my place to condemn them.”
Buckley also pivoted on the question of Innis’s call to boycott the dinner to take a shot at the state Republican Party’s finances and its $29,000 deficit, according to state Secretary of State filings in June, saying Innis should be more concerned with the party’s checkbook. Buckley said Innis showed a “real misunderstanding of what voters are looking for,” and criticized him for considering leaving the state Senate months after assuming office to potentially become president of the University of New Hampshire.
“I would think Sen. Innis would be a little more concerned with the fundraising activities of the New Hampshire Republican Party versus offering opinions on the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s events,” Buckley said.
Innis said he was nominated to serve as UNH president and gave the position consideration before the school chose another candidate. “I was honored to be nominated for that kind of distinction and it was a brief consideration while I was a candidate,” Innis said. “Did I want to leave the Senate? Heck no.”
Innis applauded Trump for being supportive of the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation’s largest organization of LGBT conservatives. He said he believes Trump has a tendency to offer “unfortunate commentary,” but stopped short of criticizing him on specific instances of Trump calling undocumented Mexican immigrants rapists when he announced his candidacy for president or the administration’s new practice of denying visas to unmarried partners of homosexual diplomats and UN workers, placing an extra burden on gay diplomats who hail from countries where same-sex marriages are illegal, for example.
“The president sometimes speaks before he thinks,” Innis said. “He has been a strong supporter of us, and he is the first president to write us a letter.”