In honor of Geraldo Rivera’s five decades on TV, Fox Nation (Fox News Channel’s subscription-based streaming service) has released the four-part series, I Am Geraldo: 50 Years. The first episode premiered on Sept. 6 and highlighted key moments in Rivera’s career, including the opening of Al Capone’s secret vault (which turned out to be empty). The entire series is available exclusively on Fox Nation.
“It’s been a wild, wild ride,” Rivera tells Yahoo Entertainment about his 50-year broadcasting career.
On Sept. 8, 1970 Rivera did his first story for Eyewitness News in New York City, after having left his job as a lawyer to pursue journalism. At the time, he was one of very few Latinx reporters on TV. “When I was hired,” he explains. “I was hired with the notion that I was part of an effort to diversify.”
Rivera comes from a large Puerto Rican family. “My dad was one of 17 children,” he says. “I have 100 first cousins, at least, on my father’s side.” But his heritage has always been a source of pride for Rivera. “It was extremely important to represent the Latino community when I came on board,” he explains. “I still feel, and will always feel, an enormous gratitude to the Latino community for the support that they have shown me.”
In 1977, early in his career, Rivera met Donald Trump. He would go on to interview Trump multiple times and build a lasting friendship. “I speak to the President every couple of weeks,” he says. “He called me to congratulate me on my 50 years.”
In 2015, the two appeared on The Celebrity Apprentice. The show aired its season finale in February, with Rivera landing in second place — and that June, Trump announced his candidacy for president.
Now, in the upcoming election, Rivera notes, “Does he have a chance at the election? It’s a long shot,” he says. “I think he very well can pull it out. There’s a lot of support for the president that’s on the down low.”
Rivera doesn’t confirm who he’s voting for, but he does say there are pressing issues, like immigration and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that Trump needs to stand behind for him to fully support another term. “Trump, I tell you, the problem is his language more than his actions,” Rivera says. “I don’t like his incendiary language when it comes to immigrants. I try to counsel him against that.”
The DACA program was passed by the Obama administration in 2012 and shields some undocumented immigrants — known as Dreamers, who arrived in the U.S. at a very young age — from deportation, allowing them to work in this country.
In June, the Supreme Court blocked president Trump’s attempt to end the program. More than a month after the ruling, the Trump administration said it will not accept new applications and will limit renewals to one year instead of two.
Trump has repeatedly objected to DACA as part of his anti-immigration agenda, but he has been unable to end the program following a series of lawsuits.
Rivera is a strong supporter of DACA, its recipients and their path to citizenship. “I promise that if the Dreamers are ever deported,” he says, “I’ll throw my body in front of them and say, ‘You have to take me first.”’
I Am Geraldo: 50 Years is currently available to stream on Fox Nation.
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