NEW YORK, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Martin Sheen -- an actor famous for playing a fictional commander-in-chief known for his integrity, strength and compassion -- recently offered his opinions on America's current president and who might replace him.
Sheen, 76, portrayed Democrat President "Jed" Bartlet on the Aaron Sorkin-created The West Wing for seven seasons, ending in 2006.
Asked by UPI in New York last month if he understands why so many people love this character and wish they had someone like him to lead them in real life, Sheen replied: "You had a much better one and you're not going to realize it until he's out of office. Barack and Mrs. Obama."
The actor went on to reveal he has discussed Obama's presidency and the election campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with his Grace and Frankie co-star Sam Waterston, who played the principled president of a cable news network on another Sorkin project, The Newsroom, and who is also an amateur Abraham Lincoln scholar.
"We will not know until he's gone how great he was and that's how it was with Lincoln," Sheen said he and his friend concluded, describing Obama as "this young, handsome, brilliant man."
"And his family! Did you hear her the other day speaking? Talking about the women? 'I hurt,'" Sheen said, referring to a speech Michelle Obama gave while campaigning for Clinton. "When have you seen a first lady talk like that? To be vulnerable and they are out of office in a couple of months and look what we've had. It's been good."
Of Republican candidate Donald Trump, he said: "And you've got this guy. Please, God, no. Please, God, no. If he has done any good at all, it would be to see our darker angels. Yeah, that's part of us, too. This guy has awakened the shadow and it's not pleasant. But it is also not worthy to be exemplary. It's not worthy to be embraced. We have a brighter angel and we have experience and we've got to re-focus. We know what a fascist is. We don't have to go far in the last century. Name them! Hitler, Mussolini, Franco. Look what they did! These guys, this horrible fascism, which is clothed in nationalism, which excludes and blames and points fingers. If you can de-humanize someone, you can do anything. That's the Holocaust. That's what it is. And, yeah, that's the same kind of rhetoric and focus. So, we have to realize that we need to embrace the brightness. Acknowledge the darkness, but embrace the light."
Sheen will next be seen in the TV adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, which will air on PBS on Thanksgiving Day.