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Great Britain

Uproar after Vince Vaughn shakes Trump’s hand at football game

The actor Vince Vaughn shook Donald Trump’s hand in a private box at a football game on Monday night, a gesture which took seconds. But it caused uproar on social media, leading to condemnation of Vaughn from the left – and plaudits from the right.

Sporting events have become the latest venue to showcase the polarization of the US under Trump.

The handshake between the president and the actor happened in New Orleans, at the national college football championship game between Louisiana State and Clemson, where Trump was cheered as he walked on the field.

That was a contrast to a World Series baseball game in Washington in October, when Trump’s appearance met with boos and calls of “Lock him up!”

Vaughn is best known for comic roles in movies including Swingers, Wedding Crashers and Old School. Politically, he is an outspoken libertarian.

On Monday night, one Twitter user, who described herself as a Democratic political activist, said: “I’m not angry about Vince Vaughn, just profoundly disappointed. And I want nothing more to do with him. Once upon a time I found him quite entertaining. Not anymore.”

On the right, users criticized calls to “cancel” Vaughn and said the handshake showed respect for the president.

“I liked Vince Vaughn before but love him now,” said Amy Kremer, co-founder of Women for Trump. “Hollyweird [sic] and other snowflakes could learn from him.”

In October, the comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres was criticized for speaking to another Republican president, when she sat next to former George W Bush at another football game.

After cameras captured the two laughing and joking, many in the LGBTQ community criticized DeGeneres for enjoying herself with a man who opposed same-sex marriage for years.

On Twitter on Monday, many pointed out that Vaughn was not reaching across the political aisle, as DeGeneres was. One of the most outspoken voices on the right in Hollywood for years, Vaughn has been a vocal supporter of former US representative Ron Paul and his son Rand Paul, a US senator from Kentucky.

Vaughn has repeatedly criticized gun control, the war on drugs and federal income taxes, among other policies. In a cover story for the British edition of GQ, for example, he said mass shootings “happened in places that don’t allow guns”.

“You think the politicians that run my country and your country don’t have guns in the schools their kids go to?,” he asked. “They do.”

Vaughn also said banning guns would be like “banning forks in an attempt to stop making people fat”.

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