LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Actor and director Clint Eastwood has defended Donald Trump over accusations of racism, and revealed he is leaning towards voting for the Republican presidential nominee.
The 86-year-old acknowledged that the tycoon's incendiary rhetoric has been "dumb" at times but added that people were "making a big hoodoo out of it" and should "get over it."
In an interview with Esquire magazine published on Wednesday (Aug 3), Eastwood said people were getting "tired of political correctness, kissing up. That's the kiss-a** generation we're in right now."
"We're really in a p***y generation. Everybody's walking on eggshells. We see people accusing people of being racist and all kinds of stuff. When I grew up, those things weren't called racist," he added.
Trump, who trails Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in national polls ahead of the November general election, has repeatedly claimed that federal judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is handling a lawsuit against the now-defunct Trump University, is biased against him because his parents were born in Mexico.
He has inflamed the political establishment with a campaign promising to build a wall along the border with Mexico, branding Mexicans criminals and insulting women and Muslims.
Plain-spoken Eastwood stopped short of endorsing Trump but said when asked who he'd vote for between the reality TV star and Clinton: "I'd have to go for Trump."
No stranger to controversy, the Dirty Harry star made a bizarre cameo at the 2012 Republican convention, veering into a surreal conversation with an imaginary President Barack Obama in an empty chair.
A raucous roar went up from the thousands of delegates as the actor and director grilled the imaginary Obama for failing to revive a flagging economy.
But his rambling performance sparked derision on social media among Democrats and neutrals alike, who said the multiple Oscar winning director of Million-Dollar Baby and star of Westerns like The Good, The Bad And The Ugly had lost his marbles.
When the Politico news website asked Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt to comment on Eastwood's speech, he replied: "Referring all questions on this to Salvador Dali."
Eastwood acknowledged that the "silly" stunt was one of his decisions that troubles him most.
He explained that he was waiting backstage, listening to Neil Diamond's I Am, I Said, and became worried that his speech was just a bland, unremarkable endorsement of GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
Suddenly he heard Diamond sing "And no one heard at all/Not even the chair."
"And I'm thinking, that's Obama. He doesn't go to work. He doesn't go down to Congress and make a deal. What the hell's he doing sitting in the White House?" Eastwood told Esquire.
"If I were in that job, I'd get down there and make a deal."
So he decided to turn his speech into a diatribe, berating the head-of-state.
Eastwood, a former Republican mayor of his Californian hometown Carmel, is currently directing the movie Sully, which stars Tom Hanks and hits theatres in September.