On June 4, Canadian Jewish News conducted an interview with KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at a sold-out gala for Technion Canada, a fundraising arm of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. You can now watch the chat below.
When asked for his thoughts on the climate in the U.S. right now under President Donald Trump's leadership, as well as the recent acts of terrorism that have been cropping up in the Western world, Simmons said: "It hasn't been cropping up in America — it's been cropping up in Europe. And the people of Europe and South America and, of course, the Middle East — the people who live in the countries where they elect officials, if they are lucky enough to be in a democratic system — have to decide for themselves what the immigration policy is. In America, there are almost twelve to twenty million illegal immigrants. And I'm not giving you my opinion, but that's either gonna continue or not. There's either gonna be a ban on some countries and their immigration, or not. The people are gonna have to decide. I don't know what to tell you."
He continued: "The Pope, actually, came on and said something very astute. He said walls are inhumane and not nice — except the Vatican has a very nice, big wall around it, for the same reason: they wanna keep people out; they don't want everybody coming into the Vatican. Isn't that interesting? How about that?"
Simmons, a former contestant on Trump's "The Celebrity Apprentice" show, last December told TMZ that celebrities should keep their political opinions to themselves — especially when it comes to the results of the 2016 presidential election.
"Why does anybody give a squat what a guy in a band thinks about or anything like that?" he said. "The last thing I wanna do is to ask President Obama what he thinks about LED ZEPPELIN."
Prior to last November's election, Simmons told People magazine that he liked how Trump was shaking up the presidential race.
"The important thing about Trump, and I'm not saying whether I'm voting for him, or Hilary [Clinton], or anybody else, is that he has changed the game," Simmons said. "He doesn't want your money. This guy funds his own campaign, and he is going to say things that tens of millions of people actually say quietly because politically it's 'incorrect.'"
In a March 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Simmons described Donald Trump as "the truest political animal I've ever seen onstage." The rocker explained: "He has no speechwriters, no editing, no nothing. He's actually on tape going 'motherfucker.' You cannot turn away."
Simmons stressed at that time that he wasn't saying he was supporting Trump. "He has said some very vile, unkind things," he said. "But don't kid yourself. He speaks off the cuff, and what you see is what you get. And he'll double down. If you ask him about building a wall [between the U.S. and Mexico] he'll say, 'Fuck you, I'm going to make it ten feet higher, just because you asked me.' He's not there to be your friend."
"He's good for the political system," Simmons added. "The middle, the centrists, they can say, 'What do you think of this?' because everybody is sick and tired of being politically correct. Secretly, tens of millions, perhaps a hundred million people may actually have some positive feelings about a wall."