Critics and fans alike have been wondering how Roseanne Barr’s real-life political beliefs—she’s been a vocal Trump supporter, if you didn’t know—would influence the revival of her popular ABC sitcom. Network president Channing Dungey has said that the tweeter in chief’s name wouldn’t be uttered at all in the 10th season of Roseanne, which premieres March 27. But the show will still address “some of the topics that are in conversation today”—just not the rotting pumpkin who spends his “executive time” diddling his nuclear button.
Despite all insistence to the contrary, reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour still inquired about the role Trump will play in the show, given the political schism that makes up part of the story. There was a lot of deflection from the panelists, including cast members Sara Gilbert and co-EPs Bruce Helford and Whitney Cummings, who preferred to talk about pressing forward instead of looking back at the 2016 presidential election. Soraya Nadia McDonald, culture writer for The Undefeated, posed a question to Barr about reconciling the anti-racism message espoused in the season 7 episode, “White Men Can’t Kiss,” with her character’s support for a known racist and xenophobe.
“That’s your opinion,” Barr replied, to which the journalist responded by reminding the writer-producer-actor of Trump’s infamous “Mexicans are rapists” campaign line. Barr kind of shrugged and said Trump has said “all kinds of crazy things,” but she ultimately denied being any kind of apologist for the president. Of course, she soon followed that up by citing the black [and Hispanic, according to PolitiFact] unemployment rate that the Trump children are patting Daddy on the back for on Twitter, despite the fact that many experts agree that we can’t credit any one person for that figure.
Sensing she might not have made her case, Barr said she wanted to share one more thing before the panel was over, which led to a beleaguered network rep asking “Are you sure?” At that time, Barr spoke of picking between the lesser of two evils, and explained that she couldn’t bring herself to vote for Hillary Clinton “because of Haiti.”
As the panel gave way to Ryan Seacrest and the American Idol revival, Barr shifted to a more conciliatory tone: “I think it’s time to close ranks, and I would really like to see an end to ‘hate-triotism’ in this country.”