'We are done with immigrants coming in illegally,' says blacklisted Hollywood-star-turned-politician Antonio Sabato Jr

The actor-turned-politician now says that he has taken a break from Hollywood to launch a career in politics as a Republican congressional candidate.

                            'We are done with immigrants coming in illegally,' says blacklisted Hollywood-star-turned-politician Antonio Sabato Jr
Antonio Sabato Jr. (Getty Images)

General Hospital' actor Antonio Sabato Jr., an immigrant from Italy, has had an interesting journey in the United States, from beginning his career as an underwear model for Calvin Klein to being shunned by Hollywood for backing President Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign. The actor-turned-politician now says that he has taken a break from Hollywood to launch his career in politics as a Republican congressional candidate.  

Sabato Jr. is running for a congressional seat in California as a Republican candidate in an attempt to represent the community of Ventura County and recently clinched the second place in the congressional race earlier this month.

The actor-turned-politician, on June 6, was leading against fellow Republican Jeffrey Burum by more than 2,000 votes and is now all set for the final election battle in November. 

In a conversation with Meaww, the politician tells us about his admiration for Donald Trump, his views on immigration and school shootings, discusses the Roseanne Barr controversy and him calling Obama a Muslim:

You are running for the 26th Congressional district in California, what are your goals for the community if you get elected in November?

There's a lot of work that has to be done because there has been a lot of damage done by the liberal socialists here in Sacramento and Washington DC. We have to help the veterans, we have to bring law and order, we have to do more in reducing regulations linked to businesses and to bring more wealth in business in my community. We have to do more from the point of view of economic wealth as well as safety and show the American people that the community is safe and economically valuable.

How are you going to be different from the current Democratic representative Julia Brownley?

I've lived in this community for 15 years, she has never lived here once. She doesn't understand the community because she hasn't been around. For you to be a congressman, you have to feel pride for this country and the American people, and I take huge pride in it.

I am very much devoted to my community, I have given up my career as an actor, for the time being. I have put everything on the line because I believe my country deserves better representation. I have to do more for my farmers, I have to do a lot of work for my law enforcement. Education in California is falling behind, we rank 42 out of 50 states. In homelessness, we are number one. There's poverty and unemployment in the state and the businesses are leaving because of regulations. We have to change it and keep California safe and productive.

Antonio Sabato Jr. and Vern Troyer at the reception celebrating the Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle at the Tehama Golf Club on September 7, 2012 in Carmel, California (Getty Images)


What inspired your transition from Hollywood to politics?

I've been campaigning for the president from day one. I was the first celebrity to put my endorsement behind Donald Trump and I knew he was going to win.

This country has been through a lot in the last 200 years, it's time we bring law and order and follow the Constitution, follow the laws in the books, protect the people. It takes a lot of work to do that, to go back to Washington every single week. I am making sure that our District Attorney's office is one of the best and not one of the worst because, under Julia Browley, the DA in my community has been rated one of the worst.

We have to put our lives on the line, and I will ensure that I win the primaries. We are going to win in November for the American people. 

Is it true that you were blacklisted from Hollywood for supporting President Trump? 

Yes, absolutely! I have been very open about it from day one. I have seen socialism, I have seen it directed at me when I came back from Cleveland after I spoke to the president. I was blacklisted, pretty much put on the sidelines, I was left by my representation, my agents, my manager, my commercial agents. I had jobs lined up that weren't there anymore. I had a contract from ABC and they pulled that contract away when they found out I was running.

But, you know what, I am stronger than that and I've been getting stronger from day one. 

Antonio Sabato Jr. delivers a speech on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio (Getty Images)


Do you think the outrage and the cancelation of Roseanne Barr's show by ABC over her racist tweet were justified? 

Everybody has the right to say what they feel, and I am talking about living in a big country, but, everytime you say something wrong, you are either fired or completely blacklisted. We have seen a lot of things from the left, the way they call the presidency, the way they call Christianity names on ABC and people still have their jobs on series like Gilmore. It's vile, it shouldn't be that way.

A comedian sure has a right to say certain things but to completely evict and fire someone based on one tweet, that's a little bit too much. If we are going to be fair, then we should look at all the things the Democratic party has done. Look at the Obama administration, the things they have said and done and nobody has been fired or held accountable for all their actions. But, sure, let's fire Roseanne because she said something on a tweet and she is not allowed to apologize at all.

At the end of the day, we know that it is a biased system.

Speaking of Obama, you had claimed in 2016 that the former president is a Muslim. Do you still think that?

I don't care about Obama right now. His eight years of presidency has completely been erased. Everything that he did hopefully will be gone soon enough. Right now, we have to talk about today. I couldn't care less what religion he is and he isn't, that's the past. Right now, we have to work with the American people and bring law and order back. I don't want to talk about this guy ever again.

(L-R) Actors Antonio Sabato Jr., Lisa Edelstein, Kal Penn and Salli Richardson attend the 15th Annual Diversity Awards at the Globe Theatre, Universal Studios Hollywood on November 18, 2007 in Universal City, California (Getty Images)


What are your views on illegal immigration in the country? Do you think the segregation of families at the US-Mexico border is justified?

We have to follow the law. We have a federal law, which means that if you come to the country illegally, you'll be deported, no questions asked. If you want to change the law and keep the illegals here, I'd say we can do two things: We can change the  Constitution, and we have to allow them to stay in this country but they cannot take advantage of the American people. We can not keep paying over a hundred billion dollars for illegal immigrants to be in our country. If we are going to have an open border — which I am very much against — then let everybody in but we don't want to keep paying for their stay programs and welfare. 

So, if you want to come here, pay your taxes, you learn the Constitution, you learn the language, then you can stay here, but we are done. We want to close the borders and I think the best thing to do is to follow the law that we have. But people in Sacramento don't want to follow federal laws, they think they have their own law. Our federal law says that if you cross the border illegally, you'll be sent back to your country, no matter what. You come here illegally, you pay your dues. There are other people waiting in line to come here legally, friends of mine in Italy are still waiting, and other people are coming here by crossing the border and getting free programs, I am very much against that. Follow the law.

Actor Antonio Sabato Jr. of the movie 'Testosterone' poses for photographs at the Hotel Intercontinental during the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2003 in Toronto, Canada (Getty Images)


Do you think stricter gun regulations should be in place in the wake of rampant school shootings in the country? 

Yes, but I am very much for the second amendment. I think California has very strict gun laws, it's one of the strictest. However, it's not about guns, guns don't shoot themselves, it's about people, society, family, being able to talk to each other and being able to express what's going on.

Our law enforcement has to have all the tools, to have information on everyone who buys a gun in this country, to know exactly where they are from and where they are. We don't have all the 50 states working together in America. Everything is individual.

I am promoting gun safety and gun laws, we can do that but, at the end of the day, it's all about common sense. What we have seen in the last two shootings is that the incidents have been linked to law enforcement not doing their jobs, families not being open with their children and not having an open and loving environment.People are stealing guns from their parents. We already knew about some of these individuals, no one did anything about it, there's a lot of elements to this, we need to be more careful, we haven't. I am very much for the Second Amendment so we can protect ourselves in the community.

 Antonio Sabato tees up a shot at the Golf Challenge celebrating the Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle at Tehama Golf Club on September 7, 2012 in Carmel, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images For Best Buddies And Zenith)


Some conservatives, in your district particularly, have said that your risqué roles in movies do not qualify you to represent the GOP, what do you have to say about that?

That's kind of insulting for people who are working hard every day, for the middle class, for the blue collared, for people that are working every day, for immigrants like myself who have come to this country.

I have been a successful actor for almost 30 years, I have had businesses, I was a race car driver as well, I have done a lot of good things, hired a lot of people. I am very knowledgeable, I would like to think so.

A politician works for the people, you don't go to school to become a politician, you become one. I don't want to be a professional politician. I want to be a person who works hard for the people and my main role is to listen to my community and do exactly what they want me to do because they know best.