The XX Factor

Debra Messing and Susan Sarandon Are Still Fighting About Donald Trump

susan debra.
Susan Sarandon and Debra Messing.

Photo illustration by Slate. Images by Alex Wong/Getty Images and John Lamparski/Getty Images.

Debra Messing and Susan Sarandon, auburn-haired celebri-frenemies of the progressive agenda, are having a Twitter spat again. Earlier this week, Jill Stein supporter (and former Berner) Sarandon encouraged her followers to “reach out in dialogue” to people who voted for Trump. “We can’t afford a blanket judgement of them,” she tweeted in response to a Twitter user’s caution against “normalizing” the president-elect. “We need allies in that camp. Possible.”

Messing and others wondered why Sarandon was so quick to suggest mending fences with people who don’t consider outspoken racism a dealbreaker for a potential president. Just a few months ago, during the primary, Sarandon suggested that a Donald Trump presidency might be better than a Hillary Clinton one, because Trump would be so bad he’d “bring the revolution immediately” so that “things will really explode.”

Well, it’s been a week since Trump’s election, and the revolution has not, to my knowledge, been brought. Instead, Trump has appointed an anti-Semitic white nationalist as his chief strategist, named a nemesis of civil rights his attorney general, and resumed discussion of making all Muslims join a national registry. Sarandon, a wealthy white celebrity under no immediate threat by Trump’s failure to be ousted by some hypothetical revolutionary brigade, apparently believes this state we’re in is preferable to the competency and incremental progress a Clinton administration would have meant. Messing, however, doesn’t agree that people who voted for Trump are ready to heed the inclusive call to leftist activism.

The Messing-Sarandon feud began in March, after Sarandon posited that a Trump administration could be a great precursor to a Bernie revolution. “Wonder if she’d say that if she were poor,gay,Muslim or immgrnt,” Messing tweeted. Sarandon clarified that she wasn’t saying she’d vote for Trump, just that “passionate, principled independents & first-time voters” who loved Sanders would have a lot to consider if left with the choice between Clinton and Trump. Messing reiterated that neither Clinton nor Sanders had proposed banning, deporting, and terrorizing innocent American residents, while Trump had, and that major difference should not be ignored. Sarandon said something about polls and shrugged.

Now, the Stepmom star is going through Messing’s timeline, retweeting her posts and adding a line about Dakota Access Pipeline resistance to each one.

She’s also telling anyone who criticizes her hardline Trump-is-better-than-Hillary stance to #amplify news from Standing Rock.

Both of these Twitter activists deserve credit for their unwavering convictions. Messing, who’s clearly got an unsteady hand on the touch screen, is keeping her fellow famous person on her toes, even as her barely comprehensible tweets undermine any image of coolness and collectedness she’d cultivated. And Sarandon isn’t backing down from her belief that Trump’s election has triggered a quiet progressive revolution (made up of people who, it seems, didn’t vote?) ready to guide an America that just elected a fascist xenophobe into a peaceful socialist democracy. We’re ready when you are, Susan!