In a new interview with Yahoo!'s Lyndsey Parker, KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons spoke about the negative response he gets from some of his fans every time he shares his pro-vaccine stance on Twitter.
"It's been politicized," he said. "The gentleman who was in office, the former president [Donald Trump], I knew before the political world. It's the same person I knew before; the stripes of a tiger don't change. And the unfortunate thing is that… Look, we all lie to some extent, but what happened the last four years was beyond anything I ever thought imaginable from people who had lots of power — not just him, but the administration, everybody. And unfortunately, that disease — The Big Lie notwithstanding — has really infected a large portion of the population.
"So the Earth is not flat. This guy that came with guns and started shooting up a pizza parlor 'cause he thought there was child trafficking in the basement and stuff, something Hillary [Clinton was supposedly involved with]," he continued, referencing "Pizzagate", a debunked conspiracy theory that went viral during the 2016 United States presidential election cycle. "And when the cops came and took him down, he was screaming, 'Save the children.' He believed in the lie. All these QAnon people.
"I do have to say one thing: if disillusionment and semi-insanity... they're still Americans," Gene added. "And I think just keep pushing fact and not fiction; keep fighting it. Because whether you do it with a religious symbol hanging over your head or 'Q' on your t-shirt and all that stuff, they're lies, and science is the only friend you've got, whether you like it or not. So, you just have to keep pushing [facts]. Then there are religious folks who don't like to be told… 'Don't tell me what to do in my church.' Well, okay, but as soon as these people are gonna start suing each other, you're gonna be in a court of law and your God is not gonna save you."
Asked to elaborate on his previous comment that Trump is "the same person" he knew when he was a contestant on Trump's "The Celebrity Apprentice" series, Gene said: "We were in a restaurant together, and I happened to be with an attractive young lady. And he walked up and said, 'Hey, Gene, you and I, we're exactly the same. We like the hot chicks.' That was a strange thing to say, but yeah, I guess that's true. But I think it's the same person. And maybe that was the appeal and continues to be. People are sick and tired of politically correct language and stuff.
"In a political dialogue, if somebody spews complete fiction and QAnon stuff, you wanna be able to have somebody who says, 'Are you out of your fucking mind? Did you just shit your diapers and forget to wipe it?'" Simmons added. "We're looking for that politician who just says instead of watching your language. Because the other side will spew garbage and lies and everything. This guy [Governor Ron] DeSantis in Florida, who's a wonderful human being — I'm sure he loves his family — and yet won't come out and say there's a real problem [with his approach to the COVID-19 pandemic]. 'We leave it up to parents to decide [whether their children should wear face masks in schools].' No. It should be a mandate. What do airlines, Microsoft, Facebook and all these other entities know that your school shouldn't know, which is children can infect everybody. You're in a closed environment. Okay, we're not gonna force you to vaccine your children. At least wear masks in school."
Back in 2019, Simmons said that Trump had "forever changed" politics. He added that "earth has never been in better shape" than it was in the summer of 2019. "I know — climate change and a polarized political thing — but there are no more world wars," he stated at the time. "I mean, imagine what London looked like 60 years ago. This is the best of times. Unemployment in the United States is the lowest it's been in 50 years — 5-0. When I rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange at their behest, the Dow [Jones Industrial Average] was about 8,000. It's almost 27,000 today. More people are working. More people are making more money. Unions are more powerful."
In the past, Gene had defended Trump's occasional off-color remarks and frequently outrageous statements, saying: "I don't know anybody here who hasn't said stupid things publicly or privately. You've said potty words and so have I. So I'm gonna give the guy who was duly elected a chance to show us what he can do, and then I'll judge his legacy."
Simmons said that he "didn't necessarily vote for Trump or [Hillary] Clinton" in the 2016 presidential election, adding that "it's really nobody's damn business" whom he voted for. "I think you'd be surprised by my choice — but he's President Trump, because even if you don't like the man, you must respect the office of the presidency and the will of the Electoral College," he said.
In 2017, Simmons confirmed that KISS was inivited to perform at Trump's inauguration but turned it down because it was "not a good idea."