Magician Penn Jillette ‘appalled’ by Donald Trump’s actions as president

The veteran magician appeared on two series of Mr Trump’s The Celebrity Apprentice.
The veteran magician appeared on two series of Mr Trump’s The Celebrity Apprentice.

Magician Penn Jillette has said he is “appalled” by Donald Trump’s actions as US President and that it seems possible “bunches of people will die” as a result.

The star, 64, one half of acclaimed magic duo Penn and Teller, appeared on two series of the US version of The Celebrity Apprentice, which was hosted by Mr Trump.

He told the PA news agency that Mr Trump’s recent actions, including the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, were “physically scary” and that he was “depressed” by the possibility of people dying.

Speaking while in London for the press night of his new West End show, Magic Goes Wrong, he said: “I was very, very against him being president and I have been, along with much of the rest of the world, appalled by what he has done.

“Not only what he has done but what he has turned everybody into. Even the people that don’t like him have turned into these kind of team players.

“There is a kind of emptiness and a kind of lack of kindness that he has helped bring out in everybody.

“Like many people, I find it very sad and on top of sad, at this point now, physically scary. Not just cruel but also scary.

“So I don’t have any cute turn of phrase like ‘Oh, I would like to make him disappear’ because it is out of the realm of entertainment and into the realm of horror, I’m afraid.”

Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Jillette, who lives in Las Vegas, added: “I suppose, I guess I should measure that a bit. It does not seem that attacks on Las Vegas, where my family is, or London, where I am, are imminent, but it does seem like it’s possible that bunches of people will die and that’s horrible.

“I’m not going to say anything about it except that I am depressed about it.”

Recalling his time on The Celebrity Apprentice, he said: “I worked with him on Celebrity The Apprentice and I thought he was very good for doing reality TV, which means capricious, empty and no shame, and no self-awareness – and also no compassion, love or pity.”

At 18 years, Penn and Teller’s residency at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino is one of the longest-running in Las Vegas history.

The pair, who have performed together since the late 70s, worked on Magic Goes Wrong with London-based improvisational comedy troupe Mischief Theatre, who are famous for shows including The Play That Goes Wrong and The Comedy About A Bank Robbery.

They are listed alongside the troupe’s Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields as writers on the show.

Jillette said they had taken a risk flying the trio out to Las Vegas to write with them, but that they quickly “fell in love”.

He said: “We took a very, very, very big gamble – I mean, this could be a very different conversation – except that the Wrong boys are the best people we have ever worked with.

“They are smart, funny, kind – you pick a positive adjective, they are that. They were the easiest people to write with. Their improvisational skills are unmatched.

“We just absolutely fell in love with them.”

Tickets for Magic Goes Wrong at the Vaudeville Theatre are booking until May 31.