A Lifetime Achievement Award
Robert De Niro, the iconic actor behind movies like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The Irishman, received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2020 SAG Awards, and he took the time to bring his classic, clear eyed political criticism to his speech.
While he made sure to thank everyone who helped him get to this point -- "I have been a member of this union for over 50 years. It’s an honor to receive this award from SAG-AFTRA" -- he also took his time to air his displeasure with the current presidential administration.
Not Afraid To Get Political
While taking the SAG stage, De Niro declared:
"We are in such a dire situation, so deeply concerning to me and to so many others. I have to say something. There’s right and there’s wrong and there’s common sense and there’s abuse of power. And as a citizen I have as much right as anybody – an actor, an athlete, a musician, anybody else – to voice my opinion and if I have a bigger voice because of my situation I’m going to use it whenever I see a blatant abuse of power."
"An Abusive Relationship"
This is hardly the first time that De Niro has taken aim at President Trump, previously likening him to an abusive relationship.
"You and I and everybody listening to this are living in a weird time; I think that there is a malaise in this country right now. There is a level of despair with people. Have you seen this and felt it? They're so low.
To me, it feels like, with this administration, this president, it's kind of [like] being in an abusive relationship. You don't know what's going to happen. You don't feel safe. The president is such an idiot and doesn't do anything that we can rely on or feel safe about, even good intentions — he has no good intentions. That's your role as president, to make people feel good and positive. Even though it's easier said than done, that's your responsibility as president. He doesn't have any of that, as we all know."
An Outspoken Critic
While promoting The Irishman, De Niro was asked by the New York Times if he would ever consider playing Trump in a future film, and De Niro is decidedly not interested.
"I wouldn’t want to play him. He’s such an awful person. There’s nothing redeemable about him, and I never say that about any character."
He continued, explaining that Trump is even worse than Taxi Driver's violent Travis Bickle.
"I can’t compare. There’s not one moment that Trump said: “I’m sorry. I realize I’ve done something that I shouldn’t have done.” He has not one speck of redeemability in him. He’s not owed one speck of redeemability."