Robert De Niro is an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump and on Tuesday the 74-year-old Hollywood icon ditched the nuance and went on a profanity-laced tirade at the National Board of Review Awards.
While introducing Meryl Streep, De Niro went into a defiant sidebar: “Today the world is suffering from real Donald Trump. Come on. You know. What are we talking about? This fucking idiot is the president. It’s the Emperor’s New Clothes—the guy is a fucking fool… Our baby-in-chief—the jerkoff-in-chief, I call him—has put the press under siege, ridiculing it through trying to discredit it through outrageous attacks and lies,” he said, according to the New York Times‘ transcript.
The awards were a coronation for Streep’s film The Post, which took home nods for best picture, best actress (Streep), and best actor for co-star Tom Hanks. It tells the story of the Washington Post‘s reporting on the Pentagon Papers and has drawn parallels between President Richard Nixon and Trump-era politics.
With the awards announced last month, a politically charged night seemed inevitable. Indeed director Steven Spielberg took time to defend the press from White House attacks: “We are in a fight and it’s a fight not just about alternative facts but it’s a fight for the objective truth,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “President Obama said in a recent interview, ‘It’s not that democracy is fragile but it’s reversible.’ I wanted to do more than just sit down and watch television and complain to [wife Kate Capshaw] and my kids about what’s happening to our country.”
Streep’s speech circled back to her advocacy for equality in showbusiness and touched on the Me Too movement.
“Here’s the main thing I don’t want to go away: the danger of making movies. How far you have to push stuff. How physically, emotionally dangerous it can be. How much we really need to trust each other. I don’t want that to go away because that’s where art lives,” she said.