Michael Rapaport talks Trump, the NFL and "The Real Housewives"
He wrote the book, "This Book Has Balls: Sports Rants from the MVP of Talking Trash"
Editor’s Note: CNN Politics profiles various influential and politically conscious artists in the “Get political” series.
Michael Rapaport and Donald Trump are both native New Yorkers who can run circles around their opponents when it comes to talking trash, but the self-described “MVP of talking trash,” is now taking on the President, who he describes as “the worst New Yorker ever.”
“Growing up here in New York, (Trump) has always been a part of the culture of New York,” Rapaport told CNN. “He reflects the old New York, a three card monte player who would be at Times Square hustling people playing the three card monte trick, and Mike Pence is the guy who’s in on it but who acts like he’s just there getting his money stolen.”
The actor and once aspiring basketball player just released a new book, “This Book Has Balls: Sports Rants from the MVP of Talking Trash” – a collection of short rants about hot topics in sports.
Rapaport shared his views on sports, politics, “The Real Housewives” and America’s relationship with hip-hop in a series of unfiltered rants.
On Trump and political correctness: “You can be unfiltered and still make up things”
When asked about Trump’s blunt speaking style, Rapaport said that while not being politically correct is “somewhat one of his good things,” it is often conflated with telling the truth.
“You can be unfiltered and still make up things. It happens all the time,” Rapaport said. “It’s a New York thing. (Trump) does speak like a New Yorker, he grew up in New York City so he has that, but that doesn’t mean he’s telling the truth.”
On America’s relationship with hip-hop
Rapaport – a huge hip-hop fan who directed the documentary “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest” and most recently starred in “The New Edition Story” – lamented white America’s relationship with hip-hop, saying that many people love black culture but are “disgusted” when black people speak out on issues that impact their communities like police brutality.
“It’s crazy how many people out here love hip-hop but hate anything that has to do with actual black people or they love these athletes and then they’re disgusted by their actions and their protests,” Rapaport said, referencing opposition to football players who protest racism on the field.
“That, to me, is the craziest thing in the world,” he continued. “You would think one hand would sort of move things forward.”
Why Bethenny Frankel is the best “Housewife” of all time
In addition to his love of sports, Rapaport makes room for another passion of his in “This Book Has Balls” – Bravo TV’s “The Real Housewives” reality TV franchise.
In a list that has been debated widely among fans of the show, Rapaport put together his own power rankings of “The Real Housewives” stars.
When asked about his favorite “Housewife,” Rapaport said that while he loves them all because all good shows “need a villain,” Bethenny Frankel – the star of “The Real Housewives of New York City” – is his ultimate favorite.
“I consider Bethenny Frankel to be the greatest ‘Housewife.’ I equate her as the Michael Jordan of ‘Housewives’ because of her story, the fact that she left the show in her prime and was bigger, stronger and more powerful than ever,” Rapaport said.
On the Mayweather-McGregor fight: “It was another great white hope”
Rapaport said that the biggest thing he left out of the book are his thoughts on the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor fight, which took place in August and ended with the boxer, Mayweather, defeating the MMA fighter in the tenth round.
“My whole thing with that fight was that it was another great white hope,” Rapaport said, adding that “the racial undertones to who was rooting for who” could not be separated from the racial divide that exists in America.
Rapaport is not a fan of Mayweather and even has a chapter dedicated to the boxer in his book called “Great in the Ring, Crappy in Life” dedicated to the boxer, but he said he wanted him to win because he has “a love and affection for the sport of boxing.”