Robert De Niro, actor and successful businessman, was on stage to introduce Bruce Springsteen during the Tony Awards. Before doing so, he felt the need to inject politics into the introduction.
“I’m gonna say one thing. Fuck Trump,” De Niro said, without any preamble.
With the audience of theater actors, directors and producers shrieking and rising to their feet in applause, De Niro said: “It’s no longer down with Trump. It’s fuck Trump.”
He then went on to introduce Springsteen. For those who care to watch the key moment, Variety posted it to Youtube:
The comments earned sustained applause from the audience. CBS deleted the word from the broadcast transmission.
De Niro, a native New Yorker who has been familiar with Trump for decades, has been outspoken in his criticism of the President, going so far as to say he had banned Trump from any of the Nobu restaurants he co-owns. His representatives later corrected the record, stating categorically that Trump was not banned. (Hollywood Reporter)
This demonstrates that De Niro is prone to overstatement or simple lies, one of his criticisms of the President.
His statement on Sunday also demonstrates that he knows how to play to an audience, given the enthusiastic support his outburst received. It further demonstrates that, despite knowing how to garner attention, De Niro does not understand the consequences of his comments.
Public statements like this heighten the division in the country by reducing discourse to a series of insults. It energizes those who agree with him to rally behind an emotional argument rather than a logical one, and simultaneously encourages those who disagree with him to shut out any criticisms of the President because they can watch him being irrationally attacked.
By using his platform to curse at Trump, De Niro has ensured that Trump continues to be seen as a victim by his supporters. He could not have helped President Trump more if he had set out purposefully to do so.