Washington: Unlike the other intended recipients of pipe bombs who surfaced this week, actor Robert De Niro is not a political figure. But like the others — including former Vice-President Joe Biden, who also joined the list of targets Thursday — De Niro has long been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump.
De Niro was also once attacked by Trump on Twitter, like several of the people who received explosive devices.
Here’s a reminder of the Hollywood star’s public war of words with the president.
De Niro’s most public denunciation of Trump came at the Tony Awards in June.
The actor, who was brought on stage to introduce a performance by Bruce Springsteen, strode up to a microphone. “I’m going to say one thing,” he said.
That one thing was two words: an obscenity and the president’s name.
Then De Niro flexed his arms and raised them triumphantly over his head like the fictional Rocky Balboa. The audience responded with raucous applause and a standing ovation.
“It’s no longer ‘Down with Trump!’ “ he added before repeating his expletive.
Trump responded the next day on Twitter, calling De Niro a “low IQ individual” who had taken “too many shots to the head.”
De Niro’s comments at the Tony Awards were not his first profanity-laden rebuke of Trump.
In January, De Niro was asked to introduce Meryl Streep at the National Board of Review awards gala.
There, too, the actor delivered an even longer obscenity-laced rant directed at the president.
He referred to Trump as an idiot and a fool — modifying both words with the same obscenity — and called him the “baby-in-chief.”
Streep, who has also issued scathing critiques of Trump in the past, was being honoured with an award for her performance in “The Post,” the 2017 film that depicted The Washington Post’s decision in 1971 to cover the Pentagon Papers.
De Niro did not miss the opportunity to reference the movie.
“At the time of the story,” he said, referring to the years of the Vietnam War, “Donald Trump was suffering from ‘bone spurs.’ Today, the world is suffering from the real Donald Trump.”
‘This will never, never be right’
At the National Board of Review awards gala, De Niro also criticised the Trump administration’s adversarial relationship to the press.
He again made Trump’s hostility toward the media a focal point in remarks he made at the Tribeca Film Festival, which he co-founded.
At a screening of “The Fourth Estate,” a documentary about The New York Times during the first year of Trump’s presidency, De Niro reportedly criticised Trump’s frequent use of the term “fake news” to discredit reports the president disagreed with.
“I’m very concerned about Republicans’ gutless acquiescence to Trump dismissing facts and creating his own alternate reality,” De Niro said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “This will never, never be right.”
De Niro’s critiques of the president actually started before Trump was elected.
In a video leaked in October 2016, the actor, perhaps channelling his performance as a boxer in “Raging Bull,” said that he would like to punch Trump.
As part of an interview filmed for the #VoteYourFuture campaign, a bipartisan effort in which celebrities speak out to motivate citizens to vote, De Niro went on a minute-long tirade against Trump, who was then the Republican presidential nominee.
“I mean, he’s so blatantly stupid,” De Niro said. “He’s a punk, he’s a dog, he’s a con.”
He used another expletive and called the president an “embarrassment” to the country. And then De Niro went pugilistic.
“He wants to punch people in the face?” De Niro said of Trump. “Well, I’d like to punch him in the face.”
— New York Times News Service