HBO’s The Newsroom hasn’t aired a new episode since 2014, but that doesn’t mean Jeff Daniels has entirely exorcised the spirit of Will McAvoy, the blustery but sometimes insightful anchor he played on the controversial Aaron Sorkin show. In a new video posted to Bloomberg Politics’ YouTube channel, Daniels becomes more or less possessed by the spirit of McAvoy for about two minutes while talking about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with MSNBC’s John Heilemann and Mark Halperin on the set of With All Due Respect. A simple question is posed to Daniels: Why is Trump the best-case scenario for Clinton in the fall election? He tries to dodge the issue with a glib, jokey answer, but the hosts demand an honest, thoughtful response. And then, in true Newsroom fashion, Daniels launches into a very convincing McAvoy monologue, prompted by a simple prompt (“He’s not.”) from off-camera.
Although intended as a satirical evocation of an expired television show, the video is also a wake-up call for anyone who sees Trump as the political rival of Clinton’s dreams. Yes, says Daniels, the real estate tycoon is a “loose cannon” who alienates vast swaths of the electorate with each statement he makes, but he also excites people in a way that Clinton simply doesn’t and receives scads of free publicity in all media, including on MSNBC. With very Sorkin-esque music building on the score, Daniels’ speech rises in volume and intensity. Finally, he explodes: “You ask what makes Trump the best case scenario for Hillary? I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about? His tiny hands?” Halperin and Heilemann can considered themselves schooled by a fictional character.