TORONTO — Mayor Rob Ford received a ringing endorsement Friday night from U.S. comedian and political commentator Bill Maher.
“I like Rob Ford,” said the host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. “I don’t care who knows it. I do.”
Maher — who once called Ford a “once-in-a-generation train wreck” in a monologue — joked that Ford’s drug use gives him the energy to get things done.
“I was up there for Christmas and the streets were plowed,” said Maher, who was dating Ontario-born singer Anjulie Persaud. “You know why? Because he takes that crack and he channels it toward working for the people.”
It’s not the first time Maher has thrown his support behind Toronto’s embattled mayor.
Last November, Maher defended him on Real Time. “I love this guy Rob Ford because he sticks his fingers back in people’s faces and says, ‘What, you don’t do anything?’ When his brother said, ‘Who here in the council hasn’t done marijuana?’ … crickets. Crickets,” said Maher.
“I don’t know Toronto politics that well but his defence seemed to be, you know, ‘You elected me to be a penny-pincher and that’s what I do every day.’ I didn’t hear anybody say different.”
Maher added: “So it seems like he does get the job done. Freedom means free to get your job done however you get your job done.”
Maher might be seen as an unlikely supporter. A self-described atheist and libertarian, the 58-year-old comic supports equality for gays and donated $1 million to Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
Ford, who refuses to attend Toronto’s Pride parade, has said he doesn’t like Obama’s politics.
But, Ford might approve of Maher’s public advocacy for looser drug laws.