Four months before Anthony Bourdain’s June 8 suicide, he sat down with Popula‘s Maria Bustillos for a wide-ranging interview which was finally published on Sunday. In it, Bourdain excoriates the Clintons, has harsh words for Obama and even calls Richard Branson “kind of a douche.”
Asked about whether Bill Clinton should have been removed from office after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Bourdain said that despite Clinton being “A piece of shit,” who was “Entitled, rapey, gropey, grabby, disgusting” should have still kept his job despite “the way that he – and she [referring to Hillary Clinton] destroyed these women and the way that everyone went along” was “screaming in apparent hypocrisy and venality.”
How you can on the one hand howl at the moon about all these other predators. And not at least look back. OK, let’s say, well, it was all consensual: powerful men, starstruck women, okay fine, let’s accept it at its most charitable interpretation. Fine. He is a very charming man, I met him, he’s fucking magnetic. -Anthony Bourdain via Popula
Bourdain expounded on Hillary, noting “When you’re in the room, you think wow, she’s really warm and nice and funny. But the way they efficiently dismantled, destroyed, and shamelessly discredited these women for speaking their truth…“
As the Washington Examiner wrote in 2016:
But Mrs. Clinton took a very different approach herself 25 years ago as the wife of then-Gov. Bill Clinton, leading the effort to discredit women who came forward with their own stories of harassment or assault by her husband.
Campaign narratives written by reporters detailed how she honchoed the campaign team that handled “bimbo eruptions,” digging up personal papers and official records that could be used to undercut the stories told by a series of women. One top aide later recounted Mrs. Clinton’s intent to “destroy” the story of one accuser, while former adviser Dick Morris said Mrs. Clinton engaged in “blackmail” to try to force women to recant their stories. –Washington Examiner
Bourdain said Clinton’s behavior during those years “is unforgivable,” though reiterated that he didn’t think Bill Clinton should have been thrown out of office for his behavior.
Bourdain: I don’t think he should’ve been thrown out of office for this.
Bustillos: Why not? We want people who are of excellent character to be in that office.
Bourdain: I think you recognize people for what they are, and you determine for yourself, I’m not voting for that motherfucker ever again! Or anybody who enabled him, you know? This product, okay, I voted for it, it’s in. Is this grounds for pulling someone out of office? I don’t think so.
Bustillos: What if we did have those kind of standards? We want a person who is like, honorable.
Bourdain: I would look at this way. I would never under any circumstances vote for Bill Clinton today. But I think impeaching the guy over Lewinsky was ridiculous. Particularly given today.
It was the shaming, discrediting, undermining the women that made both of them unsuitable for any future endeavors. I don’t think they should’ve pulled him from office. –Popula
On the topic of former President Obama, Bourdain said he found him to be “very unconvincing in public, much of the time. I was always wanting a little more passion, stop halting—the halting, careful speech. In person, absolutely the most gracious, graceful, real, funny, uh, no sense of calculation, honest, I mean, you know. Him I’d vote for fuckin’ again, any time.”
Bustillos: Yeah and he like droned people, and bailed out the bankers.
Bourdain: I believe he may not have been the greatest president in history, but he’s one of the fucking nicest, good, one of the best people we ever had.
Bustillos pushed back – having strong opinions after feeling deceived by Obama:
Bustillos: No!! No. He lied. I worked hard for that campaign. I saw and I just believed him and I was like Hope, Change, Yes. I’m like, I’m so happy, we won, you know!
Minute one he started fucking with us. He promised transparency, he like—more whistleblowers were prosecuted than at any time. There’s not one fucking banker in jail. Not one! Jail me one fuckin’ banker! These people stole nine million houses!
Bourdain: There’s that scene in The Wire… see, this is the default position for white guys always, quote The Wire—with, where Mayor Carcetti comes to office, the idealistic young man, and the guy comes in and he says, Mr. Mayor, he’s the shit sandwich. And you’re gonna eat it. The guy before you ate it, the guy before him ate it. This is the reality. This is the real situation. Everybody’s been lying to you up till this minute. I’m about to explain to you the truth of the situation you are now facing and the forces opposing you to get anything done. Now eat the shit sandwich. I don’t wanna eat the shit sandwich! You are going to eat the shit sandwich.
Bustillos: This is the thing! We’re all accepting this. It’s like, as long as we keep—
Bourdain: I’m a firm believer in cynical accommodation of uh, the lessening of—compromising one’s principles for the greater good, to a point. Um, but don’t make a living out of it.
Bustillos: There’s a moment where it’s not okay!
Bourdain: Well, for the Clintons it’s a brand. For Obama I genuinely believe he made regretful but calculated decisions, I’m gonna save my ammunition for this, this fucking—
As for President Obama’s photo-op with billionaire Richard Branson right after leaving the White House, Bourdain agreed that it wasn’t a good look.
Bustillos: And I loved him, I had loved him, but like… he fucked us. And he got on the fucking jet ski with Richard Branson right after he got out of the White House and I’m like, dude.
Bustillos: Is that really the first look that you want? You are a guy with a brand. You know that you would not do that if it were you.
Bourdain: No, I wouldn’t.
Bustillos: You would not. Why not.
Um. Cause I’m vain.
Bourdain: … and I think Richard Branson is kind of a douche. That’s not who I wanna hang out with. You know… time is short.
I… look. I know Obama wants to move to New York. And I know he likes New York restaurants, and he wants to eat in New York restaurants. And if he’s gonna make a few speeches for big money to do that, I’m ok with that. What’s the problem with that? They’re not buying influence at this point.
On the topic of Harvey Weinstein, Bourdain said “as much as I’d like to see him, you know beaten to death in his cell,” that the thought of the disgraced media mogul “in fucking Arizona… eating in restaurants in Arizona” was punishment enough.
And at off the grid restaurants in Arizona, so he can’t even eat at the best sushi restaurant in Scottsdale. He’s gotta go to some shit fucking place. So Arizona, I mean, as much as I’d like to see him, you know beaten to death in his cell—
Bourdain then describes his perfect death scene for Weinstein:
Bustillos: It’s much better to watch horrible people live and suffer the consequences.
Bourdain: My theory of how he goes is uh, he’s brushing his teeth in a bathroom, he’s naked in his famous bathrobe, which is flapping open, he’s holding his cell phone in one hand because you never know who on the Weinstein board has betrayed him recently, and he’s brushing his teeth—he suddenly gets a massive fucking stroke—he stumbles backwards into the bathtub, where he finds himself um, with his robe open feet sticking out of the tub, and in his last moments of consciousness as he scrolls through his contacts list trying to figure out who he can call, who will actually answer the phone.
And he dies that way, knowing that no one will help him and that he is not looking his finest at time of death.
Four months after this interview, Bourdain would take his own life.