Before you find yourself questioning whether Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would stand any chance at becoming the next President of the United States, remember – as if you could ever forget, even for a precious millisecond – that Donald Trump is the current President of the United States. Nothing can be more absurd than a man known best for hosting America’s version of The Apprentice and a one-scene cameo in Home Alone 2 receiving enough votes to become the supposed leader of the free world. We live in a world of boundless possibility.
Consider Johnson’s career trajectory. Having already seamlessly transitioned from iconic wrestler; to world’s most marketable (and best-paid) action star; to animated, singing demigod; to funnyman in the upcoming modern-day movie adaptation of Baywatch, why not make a move for The White House?
While The Fate of the Furious star has more than hinted at a future in politics on a number of occasions, his comments on the matter in an extensive new GQ interview (which, by the way, you should definitely take the time to read in its entirety) show how much thought he’s already put into it.
The Rock said he started taking the possibility seriously after reading a piece in The Washington Post last year, which basically said he’d stand a real chance. At the time he posted a screenshot of the article to his Instagram page.
“It started coming up more and more,” he told GQ’s Caity Weaver. “There was a real sense of earnestness, which made me go home and think, ‘Let me really rethink my answer and make sure I am giving an answer that is truthful and also respectful.’ I didn't want to be flippant – ‘We'll have three days off for a weekend! No taxes!’”
When asked if he’d genuinely consider trading in his Hollywood superstardom in order to run for office, The Rock replied simply: “I think that it's a real possibility.”
Acknowledging the “weight and influence” his word now carries, he explained his refusal to endorse either presidential campaign in last year’s election (“I felt like it would either (a) make people unhappy with the thought of whatever my political view was. And, also, it might sway an opinion, which I didn't want to do.”), and while he refrained from directly criticising Trump, his response when asked about the Muslim ban, according to Weaver, was immediate.
“I completely disagree with it,” he said. “I believe in our national security to the core, but I don't believe in a ‘ban’ that bans immigrants. I believe in inclusion. Our country was built on that, and it continues to be made strong by that. And the decision felt like a snap judgment. I feel like the majority of, if not all, Americans feel that protection is of huge importance. But the ideology and the execution [of national-security initiatives] is where we really have to be careful of not making those snap decisions, because there's a tail effect... Within 24 hours, we saw a ‘tail effect.’ It grew to heartache, it grew to a great deal of pain, it grew to a great deal of confusion, and it had a lot of people scrambling.”
Inclusion and openness to alternative viewpoints would be high on the priority list if the man who wrestling fans once referred to as “The People’s Champion” were to take America’s biggest job. “When there's a disagreement, and you have a large group of people that you're in a disagreement with – for example, the media – I feel like it informs me that I could be better. We all have issues, and we all gotta work our shit out…The responsibility as president – I [would] take responsibility for everyone. Especially when you disagree with me. If there's a large number of people disagreeing, there might be something I'm not seeing, so let me see it. Let me understand it.”
Elsewhere in the interview, The Rock talks about his enormous private gym situated in a warehouse district (“really the only time I have an opportunity to be away from the public and by myself”), his upbringing and how he went from ambitious high school footballer (“I just wanted to go where I could compete”) to following in his wrestling father’s footsteps. The whole thing is just about as compelling and life-affirming as you’d expect from a profile of a man literally everyone likes.
Towards the end, the attention once again turns to politics. “A trillion percent,” was film producer Beau Flynn’s reply when asked if The Rock could rely on his vote.
Basically, it’s time we all started imagining an inauguration speech that begins with a thunderous chorus of “IF YOU SMELLLLLLLLLLLLL” from every speaker. President The Rock is ready to address his people.