Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson met with several senators at the U.S. Capitol and with service members at the Pentagon this week to talk about boosting military recruitment.
The Capitol Hill meeting was organized by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and held in Sen. Dick Durbin’s, D-Ill., office. Senators who attended the meeting included Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Todd Young, R-Ind. He also met with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., according to WRC-TV.
“Some of the best times in my life were spent serving in the military. It’s a great career that leads to a lot of opportunities even beyond the military,” Kelly told the Washington Examiner. Kelly is a former astronaut and Navy combat pilot.
He added, “So, what we were discussing is how do you tell stories that get people more interested, and he’s a guy that can do that.”
Kelly noted that Johnson, who he said “reaches 600 million people around the world,” is “trying to come up with ideas about how we improve military recruiting.”
Johnson also met with U.S. Capitol Police, who joked on social media, “We talked to a potential new recruit today… and we think he will pass the fitness test.”
Johnson has played veterans in some of his action movies, including 2004’s “Walking Tall” and “Skyscraper” in 2018, in which he played a veteran-turned-security expert with a prosthetic leg.
The former professional wrestler said at the time that his character was “inspired by the thousands of disabled U.S. veterans and war heroes I’ve had the honor of shaking hands with over the years. This character is also an homage to the everyday man and woman who, despite all odds, will dig deep and do everything possible to protect and save their family.”
This isn’t the first time the government has brought in a Hollywood star to help boost recruitment.
In 2004, Jennifer Garner, who then starred as super-spy Sydney Bristow on the show “Alias,” made a recruitment video for the CIA.
When “Top Gun: Maverick” came out last year, Air Force recruiters struggling with lower enlistment numbers flanked movie theaters with military swag to boost their numbers.
“When the original ‘Top Gun’ was released, the Navy and Air Force received a pretty good recruiting bump,” Maj. Gen. Edward Thomas, head of Air Force Recruiting Service, told the Associated Press. “Frankly, we hope people get excited all over again about what we do. Whether they want to aim high or fly Navy, we just want them to come join us. We want them to be excited about military service.”
Recruitment across all branches of the military is down, with the Army saying last year it began facing “unprecedented challenges” in enlistments.
Johnson recently said that political parties “one after the other” had approached him about running for president after a New York Daily News survey said that 46% of Americans would vote for him.
“It was all very surreal. Because that’s never been my goal. My goal has never been to be in politics,” he told Trevor Noah on his “What Now?” podcast.
In 2021, he told USA Today that he would consider running for president if “that’s what the people wanted.” Johnson told his social media followers in 2020 that he is a “centrist” who has voted on both sides of the aisle but publicly supported President Biden.
Johnson posted about the D.C. visit on Thursday, sharing a photo of himself on a runway with the caption “Pentagon bound.”