Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood backs Bloomberg: report

Hollywood actor and director Clint Eastwood said he would prefer Democrat Michael Bloomberg as president over the man he endorsed in 2016, current President Donald Trump

Clint Eastwood, the iconic actor and director who infamously delivered a speech to an empty chair at the 2012 Republican convention, is endorsing Michael Bloomberg for president and not Donald Trump, whom he supported four years ago.

In a wide-ranging interview, the 89-year-old multiple Oscar winner told The Wall Street Journal that while he appreciates some of the good that Trump has done, he laments the bad and the ugly nature of today's "ornery" politics in America.

Trump should act "in a more genteel way, without tweeting and calling people names," said Eastwood, who endorsed the brash billionaire over Hillary Clinton in 2016 because, as he said at the time, he feared she would "follow in (president Barack) Obama's footsteps."

"The best thing we could do is just get Mike Bloomberg in there," he said in the interview released late Friday, referring to the US media tycoon who jumped into the Democratic presidential nomination race in November.

Bloomberg, 78, is the former mayor of New York, meaning the two men have a sliver of political experience in common.

While Eastwood is best known for his Hollywood career -- starring in popular westerns and as the rogue cop "Dirty Harry" Callahan, and directing "Unforgiven," "Gran Torino" and last year's "Richard Jewell" -- he also served for two years as mayor of Carmel, California.

He puzzled the American political establishment in 2012 when he took the stage at the Republican National Convention, where the party was nominating Mitt Romney, and struck up a conversation with an empty chair featuring an imaginary Barack Obama.