In a new interview with Esquire, the legendary singer also opens up about his mental health and raising his kids during trying times

By Brianne Tracy
November 28, 2018 04:15 PM
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Credit: Alexi Lubomirski

Bruce Springsteen is making his opinions on President Donald Trump very clear.

In a new interview with Esquire published Tuesday, the “Born to Run” singer, 69, called Trump out for being “dangerous” and for promoting divisive politics.

“[He] has no interest in uniting the country and actually has an interest in doing the opposite and dividing us, which he does on an almost daily basis,” Springsteen said. “That’s simply a crime against humanity, as far as I’m concerned. It’s an awful, awful message to send out into the world.”

“You are intentionally trying to disenfranchise a large portion of Americans,” he continued. “That’s unforgivable. These are folks who are invested in denying the idea of a united America and an America for all. It’s a critical moment. It’s a scary moment for any conscientious American, I think.”

Bruce Springsteen for Esquire
| Credit: Alexi Lubomirski

Though Springsteen goes on to say that he thinks “we’ll survive Trump,” he also doesn’t know if he sees a “unifying figure on the horizon.”

“That worries me,” he said. “Because the partisanship and the country being split down the middle is something that’s gravely dangerous.”

As to his wish for the country? “Let people view themselves as Americans first, that the basic founding principles of the country could be adhered to, whether it’s equality or social justice. Let people give each other a chance,” he said.

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When speaking about his 1980 hit “The Ties That Bind,” Springsteen said it shows that no one — not even the president — should forsake the ties to his fellow citizens and community.

“Look at Trump,” he said. “He has forsaken a lot of these things and it’s affected him. He’s deeply damaged to his core.”

He added: “That’s why he’s dangerous. Anyone in that position who doesn’t deeply feel those ties that bind is a dangerous man, and it’s very pitiful.”

Bruce Springsteen for Esquire
| Credit: Alexi Lubomirski

This isn’t the first time Springsteen has spoken out against Trump. While Trump was still just a presidential candidate in 2016, Springsteen gave an interview to Rolling Stone in which he didn’t mince words.

“The republic is under siege by a moron, basically,” he said. “When you start talking about elections being rigged, you’re pushing people beyond democratic governance. And it’s a very, very dangerous thing to do.”

During the Esquire interview, Springsteen also opened up about raising his sons, Evan, 28, and Sam, 24, to be “good men.”

“They’re sensitive,” he said. “They’re respectful of others. They are not locked into a 1950s sensibility of manhood, which I had to contend with. Consequently, their attitudes toward women and the world are free of those archetypes, and that frees them to be who they are and have deeper and more meaningful relationships. They know — and can show— love. And they know how to receive love. I think they have a sense of process as to how to work on themselves, which is something that I certainly didn’t have at twenty-five. These are the things that I’m proud of my boys for. They are quite different from my generation.”

Along with his sons, Springsteen also shares his daughter Jessica, 26, with his wife Patti Scialfa — who he credits for raising his daughter to be strong.

“She came with a set of tools that — and I have to credit most of this to Patti, because Patti was just very in tune with all the kids all the time — allowed her to make her way through the world in a very aware way,” he said. “Consequently, there’s a lot of bullshit she doesn’t put up with. My daughter — she’s really tough. She’s in a tough sport. She’s physically very brave, very strong, and mentally very, very tough. That came through Patti. Patti was very independent. So she has a roaring independence that has served her very well.”

The 72nd Annual Tony Awards - Arrivals, New York, USA - 10 Jun 2018
Bruce Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa
| Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Though Springsteen said he has dealt with his mental health issues and has overcome obstacles from his past, he still feels like he hasn’t found his true self.

“Bruce f—ing Springsteen is a creation,” he said. “So it’s somewhat liquid — even though at this point you would imagine I have it pretty nailed down. Identity is a slippery thing no matter how long you’ve been at it. At the end of the day, identity is a construct we build to make ourselves feel at ease and at peace and reasonably stable in the world. But being is not a construct. Being is just being. In being, there’s a whole variety of wild and untamed things that remain in us. You bump into those in the night, and you can scare yourself.”

Bruce Springsteen’s Esquire cover
| Credit: Alexi Lubomirski

Springsteen is currently performing his one-man show Springsteen on Broadway before it closes on Dec. 15, which is the same night it will debut on Netflix as a special.

“DNA is a big part of what the show is about: turning yourself into a free agent,” he said. “Or, as much as you can, into an adult, for lack of a better word. It’s a coming-of-age story, and I want to show how this — one’s coming of age — has to be earned. It’s not given to anyone. It takes a certain single-minded purpose. It takes self-awareness, a desire to go there. And a willingness to confront all the very fearsome and dangerous elements of your life — your past, your history — that you need to confront to become as much of a free agent as you can. This is what the show is about. . . It’s me reciting my ‘Song of Myself.'”