'You are gangsters': Robert De Niro clashes with pro-Trump protesters

President Joe Biden's campaign held a news conference outside the Manhattan courtroom where Donald Trump is on trial in his hush money case, with actor Robert De Niro and two officers who defended the Capitol from the Jan. 6 mob in 2021 warning about the dangers of re-electing the former president.

"The Twin Towers fell just over here, just over there. This part of the city was like a ghost town, but we vowed we would not allow terrorists to change our way of life. ... I love this city. I don't want to destroy it. Donald Trump wants to destroy not only the city but the country, and eventually he can destroy the world," De Niro said.

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"I don't mean to scare you. No, no, wait — maybe I do mean to scare you," De Niro continued. "If Trump returns to the White House, you can kiss these freedoms goodbye that we all take for granted. And elections — forget about it. That's over; that's done. If he gets in, I can tell you right now, he will never leave."

After the news conference, on the way back to his car, De Niro mixed it up with some pro-Trump protesters, who yelled that he's a "wannabe," "paid sell-out" to the Democratic National Committee, "nobody" and a "little punk" whose "movies suck."

"You're not going to intimidate," De Niro replied. "That's what Trump does. ... We are going to fight back. We're trying to be gentlemen in this world, the Democrats. You are gangsters. You are gangsters!"

"You're washed up," a protester yelled.

"F--- you," De Niro shot back.

The Trump campaign also had a news conference mocking the Biden campaign's enlistment of De Niro. Spokesperson Karoline Leavitt went after "elitist out-of-touch Hollywood actors like Robert De Niro who have no idea the real problems that people in this city and across this country are facing."

"The best that Biden can do is roll out a washed-up actor," Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller said.

On Friday, the Biden campaign released a new ad featuring De Niro — who was nominated this year for an Oscar for the movie "Killers of the Flower Moon" — that will air on television and digital platforms across battleground states.

In the scuffle Tuesday, there was at least one De Niro fan in the crowd who yelled out, “I loved you in 'Taxi Driver'!”

Katherine Koretski reported from New York and Amanda Terkel from Washington, D.C.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com