WASHINGTON — One West Virginia resident wants to “Make America Rock Again.”
Kenton Tilford, a 26-year-old political consultant and freelance writer, on Sunday formally created a campaign committee called “Run The Rock 2020” to draft actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a presidential candidate in 2020, according to Federal Election Committee records.
“I’ve been discussing (this committee) with friends for some time, but I ultimately decided to create the committee because America is incredibly divided,” Tilford told CNN in an email interview. “I know it’s almost a cliche at this point, but I think it’s tragic that our President (Donald Trump) has not made a serious effort to unite the country. With this level of vitriol and anger, I believe we desperately need a leader who can unite us and not just pander to a small base of supporters.”
For Tilford, the ideal leader is Johnson.
“I’m a fan of The Rock,” he said. “He’s an amazing entertainer and the causes he champions (for example Veterans advocacy) are truly inspiring to me. … Of course, he doesn’t have the experience in government that has been typical. But I think we’ve seen voters reject the notion that inexperience disqualifies you from serving. His broad, uniting appeal is without parallel in our divided country.”
The committee’s overall goal is “to build a grassroots community of Americans to show to Mr. Johnson that his incredible popularity as an actor and public figure can translate into politics seamlessly,” Tilford said. “And I hope it influences him to take the plunge and run in 2020.”
Tilford also created a Twitter account called “Draft the Rock” for the committee.
“A grassroots movement to send The People’s Champion to the White House in 2020,” the Twitter bio reads. “#MakeAmericaRockAgain.”
As stated in the FEC form, the committee “supports/opposes only one candidate and is NOT an Authorized Committee.”
Representatives for Johnson did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. The celebrity has yet to weigh in on Twitter.
Tilford has not reached out to the Rock, or his team, yet. But he said his “hope is to provide an outlet for existing supporters out there and make his decision to run as easy as possible.”
Speculation around the Rock as a presidential nominee ticked up in May, when GQ published an article with the headline “Dwayne Johnson for President!”
“I think it’s a real possibility,” Johnson told the publication when asked if he would ever run for president of the United States.
Johnson — who said he didn’t vote for either Trump or Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton — opened up to the magazine about why he could see himself holding public office.
“Personally, I feel that if I were president, poise would be important,” he said. “Leadership would be important. Taking responsibility for everybody.”
Later in May, while hosting “Saturday Night Live,” Johnson announced that the rumors are true.
“Now, in the past I would have never considered running for president. I mean I didn’t think I was qualified at all,” Johnson said during his opening monologue. “But now I’m actually worried I’m too qualified.”
Johnson was also joined on stage by his planned — perhaps jokingly — 2020 running mate, Tom Hanks.
But a Hollywood persona becoming president is not all that far-fetched.
“Ronald Reagan often noted that his experience as an actor was great preparation to be President and I think that’s hard to argue with,” Tilford noted.
And Trump, like Johnson, had a highly visible career in the entertainment industry, most notably as host of the reality show “The Apprentice,” and experienced something in 2013 that Johnson has not yet in the world of professional wrestling: Induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.
If he were president, Johnson told GQ he would try to do a better job of bringing people together than the current President.
“We all have issues, and we all gotta work our sh*t out,” Johnson said. “And I feel like one of the qualities of a great leader is not shutting people out. … The responsibility as president — I (would]) take responsibility for everyone. Especially when you disagree with me. If there’s a large number of people disagreeing, there might be something I’m not seeing, so let me see it. Let me understand it.”