In an interview that reads in large part like a self-indulgent political tirade, actor Robert De Niro ranted against President Donald Trump, questioned his mental fitness — and suggested his supporters were fooled into voting for him by watching “The Apprentice.”
“And someone like Trump, he’s got something screwed loose in his head. But it’s through some deep insecurity that he actually behaves the way he does,” 75-year-old De Niro insisted to The New Yorker’s Michael Schulman.
Invited during the interview to broaden his “analysis” of his longtime nemesis, De Niro said Trump voters must have based their decision on false impressions they formed of him while watching him on his reality TV show, “The Apprentice.”
MORE NEWS: Why the riots?
De Niro referred to Trump’s administration as a “bad dream,” described the state of the country as “terrible,” and characterized the president’s perceived toughness as merely “b***s*** bravado.”
Trump, of course, is not one to take such insults sitting down — and in the past has referred to De Niro as a “low IQ individual.”
De Niro, who had expressed a desire to “punch [Trump] in the face” in a video encouraging people to vote during the 2016 election, told The New Yorker that Trump “even gives gangsters a bad name.”
“’Cause a gangster will give you his word and will pride himself — or herself. He doesn’t even understand that kind of logic. He thinks he’s slick and all that. There’s something wrong with him mentally.”
De Niro offered this less-than-cogent analysis of the president’s motivations: “Every terrible thing he says — he’s really saying about himself. I don’t know what his parents did. I don’t know how they treated him, whatever, but it’s all projection.”
The actor chastised the “tainted” individuals who have joined Trump’s administration, saying, “They opt to stay in this situation with a criminal and sell themselves.”
Even James Mattis, the now-former defense secretary who stepped down and has now been replaced by Patrick Shanahan as acting secretary, did not fully escape De Niro’s wrath.
“[Mattis] stumbled the other day when he went down to the Mexican border and tried to give a Pancho Villa story … Yeah, I don’t blame him. It’s dangerous that he left. We’re in a crisis in this country. We have a fool running it, and when a guy like Mattis finally has to go, we have a lot to be concerned about. I don’t see how we can go two more years with this guy.”
The native New Yorker also assigned blame to President Trump for a pipe bomb that was directed at him — De Niro — last fall.
“I think on a subconscious or subliminal level, and many other levels, it gives the OK to other people who are maybe more on the verge of thinking, or fantasizing, that [Trump has] somehow given the OK to do that,” said the Tribeca Film Festival co-founder.
The accused culprit, 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc of Avenura, Florida, also sent bombs — none that detonated — to several high-profile Democrat politicians, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, to liberal donors, and to CNN.
Even when The New Yorker interview turned to professional matters, De Niro could not resist inserting his hatred for Trump to punctuate a point.
Asked whether the career of co-star Illeana Douglas had been prematurely cut off by Les Moonves’ canceling of her contract in the wake of a #MeToo-related accusation, De Niro said, “I always feel if you’re wanted for a part, those kinds of things will go away. You’re going to get the part. I don’t know what Illeana’s situation was, and she could very well be right about what happened to her.”
Expanding on that topic, the #MeToo movement and a leader’s responsibility to “set a tone if you’re a person that’s respected by everybody,” he likened Trump to a schoolyard bully whom other bullies emulate.
Check out these tweets — then see the video below.
.@MJSchulman talks w/ Robert De Niro for this week’s @NewYorker Interview. On @realDonaldTrump: “…everything that he says about other people—that they’re losers…he’s really saying about himself.” https://t.co/u3p8rJcZTk
— Michael Luo (@michaelluo) December 30, 2018
You talkin' to me? Here's my lengthy interview with Robert De Niro, in which I asked him about Trump ("He even gives gangsters a bad name"), getting a pipe bomb in the mail, his gay artist father, #MeToo, and why he turned down the Tom Hanks role in "Big." https://t.co/IMIxwcovrk
— Michael Schulman (@MJSchulman) December 30, 2018
Check out this video:
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.