More from amNewYork’s conversation with Jimmy McMillan:
On an alleged endorsement by Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell:
He said, "I’m behind your campaign, it’s official, I’m saying it official so you can know." I didn’t ask him [why]. I’m just grateful that ... oh my God, I don’t believe this.
On what he’d do for his family:
I became a stripper years ago. I knew the media would find out about it once I began to run, but I did it because my daughter was deformed. I became a stripper to raise funds to help my daughter have the surgery she needed.
On his gloves:
This is a new day and age. I’m 64 years old, but I’m thinking like a kid. I don’t feel like I’m old yet. People are looking at me like, What is he doing with black gloves on? That’s my style, fool! So leave me alone. You didn’t question Michael Jackson. Don’t question me.
On how his rent views interfere with his dating life:
Nobody wants to be with me. I went out on a date. She said, Oh, you’re so nice. Your beard is so cute. She was rubbing up on my face. Then when I started talking about rent, she said, OK, I’m going to the bathroom. She never came out of the bathroom. She’s gone, went out the back door. I talk about rent too much.
On his traumatic experiences during the Vietnam War:
I got kicked out of Vietnam because the Viet Cong didn’t kill me. I was in a bomb explosion. I was leaning up against a tree, and I seen him pointing a bayonet right at my heart. And he told me to drink my urine. I could hear him, and I can hear him today. I found a way to put my urine in my hard hat and drink it.
On the end of his time as a soldier:
I went back to my barracks, when I came to. I stuffed my rifle in the ground and told my lieutenant, "I’m not fighting anymore. I don’t want to hurt nobody." They court-martialed me in Vietnam, stripped me of my rank. But the best thing about it is that I’m alive, and I haven’t killed a Viet Cong since then.
On posttraumatic stress and his family:
Because I had trouble and stuff and I killed a lot of people, I didn’t want to be around my son when he was a baby coming up. I locked the door to the room and stayed away when he came by, in case I went berserk because I didn’t want to hurt him.
On healing after Vietnam:
I was very physical during the war, making sure my soldiers came home alive and me too. I learned how to stay away and not hurt anybody, 40-something years without any rehabilitation. I never went to prison for murder. Whatever I did — train in martial arts — it worked.
How does he feel about his new superstar status?
That’s a good question because when I came home from Vietnam, they spit on me. You look for a reception when you come home from war, like when you look at pictures of World War II of the soldiers coming home, the people are having parties in the street. But when people come home from Vietnam, they spit on you, they call you “baby killer.”
On how lowering rent is the first step to the state’s recovery:
All these governmental programs are unnecessary because they’re not doing the right thing. Just do one thing [cap rent] and the state will heal itself. We’re going to have a few minor little problems. A few bumps and bruises that we can sit down and eye. Don’t bring them into government.
On New York state versus New York City:
It’s not a police state. One of the mayors in the state of New York is talking about: You can’t smoke outside. This isn’t a police state. I’m not going to allow that as governor. You can take that nonsense someplace else. Not in New York state. State law exempts city law. … I’m going to override it in the state. I’m not going to tolerate that. You’re free here.
On how he represents with the Rent is 2 Damn High Party:
I try not to think about what I’m going through right now, because the little children that didn’t eat breakfast this morning, this is for them. The mother who’s pregnant, who can’t afford prenatal care, who hasn’t had breakfast and carrying a baby inside of her and not eating good. … This is for all those folks that I’m doing this. So there’s no time for me to rejoice or be happy about anything. The fame is for these people who signed my petition and said, “We want you to fight for us. Don’t get to that debate, and forget us, Mr. McMillan.”