Progressive filmmaker Michael Moore walked into Trump Tower on Saturday to try to meet with President-elect Donald Trump.
Moore claims he wanted to present Trump with a simple request: Withdraw from the presidency.
It was a political stunt by one of the entertainment industry’s most successful provocateurs. And if a platform for his anti-Trump message is what Moore was seeking, he appears to have achieved his goal.
Moore, who was wearing a safety pin in solidarity with the ethnic and religious groups Trump has disparaged, streamed the whole 90-minute-plus affair on Facebook Live using his iPhone. As of Saturday afternoon, it had more than 1.5 million views.
It took Moore some time to find the best person to talk to about meeting Trump. Along the way, ascending and descending the numerous golden escalators in the building’s atrium, he had many friendly conversations with fans, Trump supporters and journalists who spotted Moore and decided to tag along.
Finally speaking to the right Trump Tower employee, Moore approached the task of setting up a meeting with Trump with the same wry nonchalance that made him famous as the narrator of his many hit documentary films, including “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Bowling for Columbine.”
“Secret Service sent me down here. I want to go talk to Donald Trump,” Moore told a clerk at the building’s front desk, about 35 minutes into the live stream.
“Do you have an appointment?” the employee replied.
“No. Can I make an appointment right now?” Moore responded.
“Yeah, let me see what I can do,” the man answered before getting on the phone to call Trump’s office.
“I wanna look my best,” Moore quips while the employee is calling.
“Nobody’s picking up. He’s not in the office,” the employee says.
After a skeptical back-and-forth in which the employee informed Moore that Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway was not there either, the filmmaker accepted that the meeting would not take place immediately.
Instead, Moore decided to leave Trump a note with the desk attendant.
“I’m gonna see if I can go up there and talk to him and perhaps convince him not to take office on Jan. 20,” Moore told viewers as he jotted down his message.
“Mr. Trump ― I’m here! I want to talk to you. Michael Moore,” the note read.
Before that climactic, vintage Moore encounter, the filmmaker shared some of his colorful observations about the election.
He told a reporter he is resolutely in favor of abolishing the electoral college, a cause many progressives have rallied behind in the light of Hillary Clinton’s popular vote victory. This election is the second time in 16 years that Democrats have won the popular vote but lost the presidency.
“He’s only president because of a stupid idea from the 1700s that was meant to appease people in the rural South, in these slave states,” Moore said.
“The irony that some 240 years later this man is elected and is in ― gonna take office not because he won the vote, not because the American people wanted him, but because there is this slave-owning idea from the 1700s,” he adds. “And that a man who is a racist, a misogynist, that he gets to go in the White House because of this idea from the slave era ― unbelievable.”
Moore even spoke to a Trump supporter wearing a camouflage “Make America Great Again” hat, who said he had voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and was a fan of Moore’s films.
“That guy is a fan of my movies and he voted for Trump. It needs to be examined, how he pulled this off ― and we shouldn’t run away from it,” Moore said after the man walked away.
“I would do a lot of listening in the next few weeks ― in the midst of our activism, in the midst of us opposing everything that Trump’s doing, stopping him in any way we can, stopping the electoral college from committing what I think is a crime by putting him into office,” he went on. “But at the same time, we need to listen to our fellow Americans. Know the other side. Watch ‘Patton.’ He knew that.”
“Calling it gives me no pleasure. I wanted to be wrong. I worked very hard to be wrong, trying to get people out to vote,” Moore said in Saturday’s livestream.
In the wake of the election, Moore has emerged as something of a liberal folk hero, calling for a progressive takeover of the Democratic National Committee, joining mass protests in New York and predicting on MSNBC that Trump would resign or be impeached before his first term is up.
In October, he released his latest documentary, “Moore in Trumpland,” which features Moore making the case for Hillary Clinton to a politically diverse group of voters in a conservative Ohio town.