Monday saw the likes of Eva Longoria, Sen. Bernie Sanders and former first lady Michelle Obama singing Joe Biden’s praises as the first night of the Democratic National Convention got underway. Now the presidential hopeful is looking to Tom Hanks to help him get out the vote.
On Tuesday afternoon, the former vice president joined the Oscar winner for a virtual fundraiser billed as a “Grassroots Fest,” with tickets costing just $10. And though the men were speaking via video chat from separate locations, they soon found common ground over the significance of the 2020 election.
“I’m willing to give a nod to divine providence here,” said Hanks, per a pool report. “There is such a confluence of issues, so many crises that are landing in one time, certainly the economic fallout that has come about because of a brand of fear and a response to a virus that has already killed close to 200,000 Americans, and many more around the world.
“We have this great reckoning that is going on as far as who we are as a people, about our diversity,” the 64-year-old star continued. “That there is an election that’s going on here in 2020 is almost like, that’s when you got to give a nod of the head that something bigger might be at work right here, and there is a chance for a reckoning. Every election comes along, and you can always make the argument, ‘This is the most important election of our lives.’ This is the most important election in the history of America.”
Hanks, who in March announced that he and wife Rita Wilson had tested positive for COVID-19, pressed Biden on resistance to mask-wearing during the pandemic. The former vice president responded by criticizing President Donald Trump for undermining the advice of health experts.
“This appeal to this macho notion, ‘I’m not wearing a mask,’” Biden said, “this is just the most irrational, illogical and egotistical exercise I’ve ever seen a president enter into.”
The Democratic nominee added, “We can’t go on like this, like the president’s had us do, half recovering, half getting worse, half wearing masks, half denying science, half of a plan, half hoping for the best.”
During the livestream — which fittingly ended to the tune of Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from the Hanks-starring Toy Story — the actor reflected on his personal background, sharing his excitement to see fellow Oakland native Sen. Kamala Harris on the ballot with Biden. Hanks also noted that he’d enjoyed opportunities, such as being able to afford community college, that gave him a leg up; he went on to bemoan gaps in his own knowledge about African-American history as he and Biden addressed systemic racism.
The conversation also saw Hanks alluding to voters being “at the barricades” and pushing for change.
“You don’t have to be Superman to fight for truth, justice and the American way,” he said.
Hanks’s show of support for Biden comes a month after he criticized Trump’s coronavirus response in an July interview with the Guardian.
“Well, I must say, I grew up looking to our leaders for calm and informed guidance and I don’t think we’ve got that,” he told the newspaper.
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