Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood (1975)
Yesterday, September 3rd, Donald Trump held a campaign rally in Fred Rogers’ hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Fred died in 2003, but his widow Joanne follows the news, and she’s made it very clear that Trump isn’t welcome in Mrs. Rogers’ neighborhood.
The 92-year-old retired pianist spoke her mind in an interview with The Daily Beast, saying of Trump, “I think he’s just a horrible person.”
While Joanne has served as a brand ambassador in the 17 years since her husband’s death, as her son told the New York Times last year, “She has always been her own person.”
That includes more active political stances. “Fred tried to stay pretty quiet about politics, basically because his program was for children,” Joanne said. “I’m alone now. I don’t do a program for children.”
She wasn’t shy about how she’d react were Trump to win again. “I will probably go into mourning,” she remarked. “I can’t even imagine. I would feel so badly.”
As Mrs. Rogers tells it, her strong emotions are a response to Trump’s commitment to alternative facts. “I think maybe the fact that Mr Trump seldom tells the truth,” she said. “If he does, it’s just a fluke, I think. But the fact [is] that I can’t believe anything he says, not even the simplest thing.”
Added Joanne, “This man is pathologically ill. Mentally ill.”
Over the last few years, Joanne Rogers has been a more visible presence in the public eye as her husband’s legacy continues to be celebrated. She was one of the foremost talking heads in the 2018 documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, and she was played by Maryann Plunkett in the Tom Hanks-starring A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.