It’s pretty easy to assume that actor Robert De Niro isn’t the biggest fan of Donald Trump. Although he often plays characters in movies that come off as far-right conservatives — there’s no way his Meet the Parents character doesn’t buy into Trump’s rhetoric — De Niro is a life-long Democrat. He has publicly supported Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama, and other Democratic candidates for president.
But De Niro’s distaste for Trump appears to go beyond just politics, and into his view of Trump as a human being. The latest newsworthy event was when De Niro ended a Tony Awards speech with a simple, “F*ck Trump.” In response, a Trump supporter brought a “Trump 2020” flag to A Bronx Tale, which is directed by De Niro. Trump, himself, fired off a tweet referring to De Niro as “punch-drunk” and “a very Low IQ individual.”
The fire of the feud between De Niro and Trump started in October 2016, a month prior to the election. In an interview with The Guardian, the actor had a lot of poignant words.
“I mean, he’s so blatantly stupid. He’s a punk, he’s a dog, he’s a pig. He’s a con, a bullsh*t artist, a mutt who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Doesn’t do his homework, doesn’t care. Thinks he’s gaming society, doesn’t pay his taxes. He’s an idiot. Colin Powell said it best, he’s a national disaster. He’s an embarrassment to this country.
“It makes me so angry that this country has gotten to this point that this fool, this bozo, has wound up where he has. He talks about how he wants to punch people in the face, well, I’d like to punch him in the face. This is somebody that we want for president? I don’t think so. What I care about is the direction of this country. And what I’m very, very worried about is that it might go in the wrong direction with someone like Donald Trump. If you care about your future, vote for it.”
De Niro didn’t stop there with his insults. A little less than a year later, he spoke out while doing an interview with Deadline.
“If he was smart, he’d be even more dangerous,” said De Niro. “He’s dangerous as it is. He’s terrible, and a flat-out blatant racist and doubling down on that, and it’s good that he does because he’s going to sink himself.”
Two months later, De Niro was publicly referring to Trump as a “low-life,” and sending out more expletives paired together carefully to describe his view of the president. Even former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had to laugh, stating: “It took me years before I finally got a sentence out of Bobby. He’s not a big talker.”
In January 2018, De Niro harangued Trump at the National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala, calling him a “f*cking idiot” and a “f*cking fool.” One month later, De Niro again fired at the president and those who voted for him while speaking at the Dubai World Government Summit. “I am talking about my own country, the United States of America,” he said. “We don’t’ like to say we are a ‘backward’ country so let’s just say we’re suffering from a case of temporary insanity.”
But not every shot at Trump out of De Niro’s corner has been quite so serious. When Ben Stiller hosted Saturday Night Live in April 2018, De Niro made a surprise appearance in a sketch meant to parody a famous scene from Meet the Parents. De Niro played Robert Mueller alongside Stiller, who was Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen. With Stiller hooked up to the lie detector, De Niro fires off the first question: “How’d you like that pee-pee tape?”
De Niro simply isn’t afraid of Trump, and he’s not stopping or slowing down. In fact, the insults have only become more and more frequent. There is some internal debate among Democrats about whether this is the best way to go about attacking the president, or if pushing back with angry rhetoric only emboldens his most ardent supporters.
Director Rob Reiner, who is also an outspoken opponent of President Trump, recently made this exact point during an interview on The Hill’s TV show, Rising. “You’re helping Trump by saying ‘F— Trump,’ because he can say ‘look at these people, these elitists,’” said Reiner. “There’s a very fine line between energizing the base and energizing the other side.”
Whether calling out Trump in such a way helps or hurts the cause is impossible to measure, but the wave of Democrats taking over Republican seats in the house and senate speak volumes about how many of Americans feel about the president. For those people, De Niro is speaking loud and clear.
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