Critically acclaimed actor Robert De Niro said Sunday that the once-inspiring United States has descended into a “tragic, dumbass comedy.”
De Niro, 73, offered his assessment of the country under President Trump while delivering a commencement address at Brown University.
The movie star received an honorary doctorate of fine arts at the Ivy League school in Providence, R.I. He described what he sees as America’s fall from grace “in movie terms” and encouraged the 2017 graduating class to work toward repairing what’s damaged.
“When you started school, the country was an inspiring, uplifting drama,” he said. “You are graduating into a tragic, dumbass comedy. My advice is to lock the Van Wickle Gates and stay here. But if you do leave, work for the change. Work to stop the insanity. Start now so the Class of 2018 will graduate into a better world.”
De Niro, a well-known Democrat, was as outspoken in his support of former President Barack Obama and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as he is in his disdain for Trump.
During the presidential campaign, De Niro shot a video, denouncing Trump as a “national disaster” and “an embarrassment to this country.” It was supposed to be part of the #VoteYourFuture campaign but organizers considered it too partisan to include in the final project. The video was published separately.
“I mean he’s so blatantly stupid,” he said in the video. “He’s a punk, he’s a dog, he’s a pig, he’s a con, a bulls*** artist, a mutt who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, doesn’t do his homework, doesn’t care, thinks he’s gaming society, doesn’t pay his taxes. He’s an idiot.”
On the eve of Trump’s inauguration, De Niro again condemned Trump at a protest outside Trump Tower in New York. He gave a speech criticizing Trump’s rhetoric around immigration and said he hopes the former reality TV show star will abandon his “divisive, racist, misogynist, ignorant plan.”
“Just like our Founding Fathers, you can love our country and not love everything about it. That’s understandable. You can love your city, as I do, and not love everything about it either,” De Niro said in the speech. “That may have been what I was thinking about when I said I wish you-know-who would leave this city. I don’t care where he goes, I just never thought he’d go to Washington. He’s a bad example of this country, this city.”
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