Washington was on the show to promote Cars 3, but she also spoke about “Scandal” and politics. In a scene that aired a few months ago, her character Olivia explained to Bellamy Young’s Mellie why she had to embrace the presidency. “You’re about to be the first female president of the United States. Do you have any idea how incredible that is? How impossible? They almost handed this job to a man who had been in prison over giving it to you? Why? Because a woman in power is a nasty woman, a woman who needs to be put in her place.”
The “nasty woman” line, of course, was a reference to Donald Trump infamously using that description for Hillary Clinton. Reflecting on using that phrase on the show, Washington now said, “We read it at the table read, because we do our table reads cold, so we don’t know what’s in the script before we read it, and that line took my breath away. When I said it, I had to pause because sometimes I just feel so lucky to be on a show where our writers are so courageous, and they’re courageous enough to say, ‘Take a step back and look at what’s happening in the world, and I invite you to have a different perspective on it.'”
Washington went on to say of herself, “And I’m proud to be a ‘nasty woman.’ I’m proud to be a woman who has a voice. I say that not to say that I’m a person without morals, but that I’m a woman with a voice and a woman who steps into my power and a woman how has an opinion who, you know, will fight for my rights til the end. And if that makes me nasty [shrugs].”
Earlier in the chat, the star also spoke about being politically active. “One distinction that’s always important for me to make is that I’m not a politically-active actor. I’m a politically-active American,” Washington said. “I don’t participate in my democracy because I’m in the public eye. I participate in my democracy because that’s what democracy is.”
She further said, “I’m never gonna give up my voice as an American because of what I do for a living. Neither should a firefighter, or a teacher, or a police officer. We all have to have our voices. And because I’m an artist doesn’t mean I have to have any less of a voice. People fought as a woman for me to have my voice, and as a person of color for me to have my voice. I love it.” Check out the full video above.