For many of George Takei’s fans, it seemed too good to be true. Turns out they were right.
On Friday, the actor/activist tweeted, in response to rumors that he was planning to run for office, “Well, the cat’s out of the bag it seems. Let’s do this! #Takei2018.”
Takei, 79, said that he and husband Brad had just bought property in Tulare County, in the congressional district of Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee, who has been under fire for his handling of allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
“With what is going on now in the country, I couldn’t stand by any longer merely as a citizen,” said Takei, who ran for Los Angeles City Council in 1973. “I knew I had to take a bigger stand. That’s why I’m running for Congress. My hope is to challenge Devin Nunes for his seat in 2018.”
“I think Nunes is vulnerable and I plan to prove that,” Takei told the Daily Buzz. “People are tired of his ass-kissing of Trump … I want to be a champion for all people, but especially those whose voices are not heard often in the halls of Congress. We need to build a majority again in Congress, too, to be a check against the Trump Administration’s excesses, assuming he’s even around by then to keep making horrific mistakes.”
Many fans — including Rep. Ted Lieu and actor Mark Ruffalo — expressed support for Takei’s campaign, but The Hollywood Reporter and other entertainment news outlets expressed skepticism about the announcement since it came out just before April Fool’s Day. In 2013, Takei announced that he had been cast in the new “Star Wars” movie, then revealed it was a joke.
Some also questioned whether Takei, who lives in Los Angeles and often visits New York — where he appeared on Broadway in “Allegiance” and will star in the upcoming “Pacific Overtures” — would want to spend so much time in a rural, conservative district and in Washington, D.C.
On Saturday, Takei posted this message: “No, sadly, I’m not running for Devin Nunes’ seat in Congress. Happy 4/1!
“But Jon Ossoff IS running on 4/18 in Georgia’s 6th District. And he can win! Help him out with a donation at www.electjon.com.
“Montana’s at-large congressional seat, Kansas 4th and South Carolina 5th are all also up for grabs soon in special elections.
“Now is the time to field new candidates and prepare to flip Congress in 2018. If you got excited about my April Fool’s announcement, take that same excitement to the ballot box in 2018. Friends, thanks for being good sports, and thanks in advance for being engaged citizens.”
Proma Khosla of Mashable wrote, “Sometimes an April Fool’s joke makes you sad — not because you fall for it, but because you really wanted it to be true. Star Trek icon George Takei tweeted an article on April 1st that listed him as running for Congress in 2018, which will sadly not happen … George, you were the snarky leader we wanted, but still don’t deserve. Maybe next April.”
Phil Chung wrote on YOMYOMF.com, “I think Takei is doing a great job fighting the administration … from the OUTSIDE. That’s where he’s been the most effective and, I believe, will continue to be most effective.”
At the same time, Chung said the joke was ill-advised. “I understand putting out ‘fake’ news about being cast in projects you’re not a part of or don’t exist — those are ‘victimless’ jokes — but I don’t know if this is the right time to f— with people about something so important during a period when our democracy and our American values are being threatened in a way they haven’t in a very long time.”
One fan, Stephen Toulouse, tweeted, “I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed that an April Fool’s joke wasn’t true.”