The fall of Robert De Niro is quite sad. The man who once gave the world unforgettable performances in everything from “Taxi Driver” to “Goodfellas” now subjects himself to pictures such as “Dirty Grandpa” and movies like “Freelancers” and “The Bag Man” — clear paycheck grabs that skip theaters almost entirely.
But poor choices made in films is not the only thing that has ruined De Niro’s reputation. He now makes headlines far more often for his tirades against President Donald Trump than for his work in film.
He previously threatened to punch Trump in the face and called America a “tragic dumb*** comedy.”
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During Tuesday night’s National Board of Review awards gala, De Niro reportedly called Trump the “joff-in-chief” and a “fing fool.”
The actor’s comments occurred during a speech in which he was introducing Meryl Streep, also a critic of the president — though she hasn’t made public comments as aggressive as De Niro’s before.
“Today the world is suffering from real Donald Trump. Come on. You know. What are we talking about? This fing idiot is the president. It’s the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ — the guy is a f-ing fool,” De Niro said, according to an account in The New York Times.
De Niro then compared Trump to controversial former President Richard Nixon and added, “Our baby-in-chief — the j***off-in-chief, I call him — has put the press under siege, ridiculing it through trying to discredit it through outrageous attacks and lies … And again, just like 1971, the press is distinguishing itself with brave, exacting journalism.”
What “distinguished journalism,” Mr. De Niro? Are you referring to Michael Wolff’s recently released and already highly disputed book about the president? Or are you referring to reports from mainstream media outlets reporting on things like the president’s diet — while using the always reliable “anonymous sources” that everyone knows and loves?
There’s really no point in extensively arguing De Niro’s comments anyway, as he sounds like a madman. Is this the level of thinking anti-Trump celebrities are falling to these days? Curse-filled tirades that sound more like cries for help than political arguments?
It’s incredibly sad for such a talented actor to be so gripped by anti-Trump hysteria that he can hardly make a coherent statement about the president.
It doesn’t need to be like this. Just look at Jon Voight, De Niro’s costar from one of his greatest pictures, “Heat,” the ’90s crime drama that famously teamed De Niro with Al Pacino.
Voight has very different politics from De Niro. He’s been an outspoken supporter of Trump, and he was a critic of former President Barack Obama. However, he never insulted Obama the way De Niro does Trump. If asked, he did his best to make coherent arguments that opened up dialogue and discussion.
As an artist, De Niro seems very uninterested in dialogue or discussions. He is coming across as a closed-off, sad old man shaking his fists at the sky and the world for disagreeing with him.
PopZette editor Zachary Leeman can be reached at [email protected].