Two equally legendary, Academy Award-winning actors. Both very talented artists with impressive filmographies. Both New Yorkers.
These two men shared the screen together in the 1995 classic crime drama, “Heat.” Today, it’d be unlikely to find them sharing anything.
Jon Voight and Robert De Niro celebrated Thursday night in very different fashions.
Jon Voight and Robert De Niro celebrated Thursday night in very different fashions. Voight attended and spoke at an inaugural event for Donald Trump — while De Niro was part of a protest outside Trump’s New York City International Hotel.
Comparing and contrasting the words of the two artists shows near-opposite views of America’s future. At the “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration” inaugural event, Voight painted a positive picture of the future and President Trump.
“Dear friends, fellow Americans. I’m so happy to be here to welcome you all to the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump,” Voight said to heavy applause.
The “Ray Donovan” actor continued by acknowledging a negative election while pointing to a brighter future. He said the presidential election was “a barrage of propaganda that left us all breathless with anticipation, not knowing if God could reverse all the negative lies against Mr. Trump, whose only desire was to make America great again.”
Voight praised Trump, saying, “He certainly didn’t need this job. And yes, God answered all our prayers.”
Voight continued his message by assuring people that Trump would be a president for all and would work to fix what both sides can clearly acknowledge is broken. “America will be saved by an honest and good man who will work for all the people, no matter their creed or color.”
De Niro had a very different tone when he spoke to a crowd of protestors in New York City. “Trump is a bad example of this country, of this city,” said De Niro. The “Taxi Driver” actor went on to read fake tweets he expected Trump to later write about him.
Though De Niro told the crowd to not let divisiveness split them apart and acknowledged he was “rooting” for the new administration — the rest of his speech said differently.
“Just like our Founding Fathers, you can love our country and not love everything about it. That’s understandable. You can love your city, as I do, and not love everything about it either,” said De Niro. “That may have been what I was thinking about when I said ‘I wish you-know-who [Trump] would leave this city. I don’t care where he goes.’ I just never thought he’d go to Washington.”
De Niro added that he hoped the new administration would “abandon the divisive, racist, misogynist, ignorant plans it’s trumpeting and lead us with intelligence and compassion.”
Voight offered words of hope and optimism.
It’s not the first time De Niro and Voight have been on opposite sides of the political fence. During the presidential election, they could have even been called political rivals. Voight publicly criticized De Niro after a video surfaced of the actor saying he would like to “punch” Trump in the face.
“I am so ashamed of my fellow actor Bobby De Niro’s rant against Donald Trump. What foul words he used against a presidential nominee,” tweeted Voight in October.
Similarly, De Niro said of Voight, according to USA Today, “Voight is a nice guy, but he’s delusional.”
While there’s no denying the acting talent of these two, there is an argument to be made for why one is feeding the culture more positively than the other. After a divisive election, Voight offered words of hope and optimism. He used his oratory skills to affirm his beliefs and to try and convince doubters of the future.
Yet De Niro used his time in the spotlight to continue the same divisive nature of the election. We lived through the election. Do we really want the tone of that to be the tone of the next four years? It appears people like De Niro do.
On a side note, actor Charlie Sheen — who has been a worse critic of Trump than De Niro — threatened on Twitter to “brain” Voight for daring to speak at the inauguration. After using an image of a dirty toilet bowl in a comparison to Voight, Sheen said, “Please ‘shut it’ before I brain you with that fools-gold Oscar of yours.”