Robert De Niro says Trump 'doesn't care' about number of deaths
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Robert De Niro stars in the comedy sequel ‘Meet the Fockers’ tonight alongside Hollywood titans Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Barbara Streisand and Owen Wilson. He plays Jack Byrnes, the father of Pam (Teri Polo) who Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) recently proposed to.
The Byrnes family decamps to Florida to check out the prospective in-laws, but uptight ex-CIA agent Jack is taken aback by the free and easy lifestyle of happy sex therapist Roz (Streisand) and Bernie Focker (Hoffman), Greg’s mother and father.
Meet the Fockers hit cinemas in 2004 and was an instant hit, to this day as relevant as ever.
It is just one of a number of films De Niro has starred in during a career that spans six decades, nine of these films particularly noteworthy as they were made with legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese.
De Niro has become known for sharing his opinions in the public realm, including his opposition to former President Donald Trump, who he repeatedly called out and dismissed.
His criticism came to a head when in 2018, he became the target of an assassination attempt along with several other high-profile figures in the US, including Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and former CIA Director John Brennan.
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A man from Florida named Cesar Sayoc later admitted to sending 16 pipe bombs to individuals and organisations he viewed as critical of Trump.
Sayoc had sent the bomb intended for De Niro to the Tribeca Grill in Manhattan, which was empty at the time the device was found.
Months later after the scare had died down, De Niro had a message for his would-be assassin during an appearance on CNN to promote the Tribeca Film Festival: “Good triumphs over evil, light triumphs over darkness, it’s that simple.”
He continued: “There are people out there who just don’t get it and they don’t have a higher interest, if you will, in the betterment of the country even.
“It’s just about them and they’re a minority and they’re dangerous and they’re given a voice and everybody is entitled to have a voice but not when it’s a voice like that.
“I’m sorry, then you’re wrong. Then you have to either be quiet or learn that you are not right when you want to hurt other people and come after them with the white supremacy and all that other stuff and that hate, you’re wrong.”
None of the devices detonated and no one was injured, and Sayoc later pleaded guilty to 65 felony counts, including using weapons of mass destruction in an attempted domestic terrorist attack, interstate transport of explosives and illegal mailing of explosives with the intent to kill or injure.
In a two page letter to US District Court Judge Jed Rakoff, Sayoc stated that: “The intention was to only intimidate and scare,” and that the pipe bombs were “not ever meant to work.”
Jane Rosenthal, De Niro’s producing partner and co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, told CNN that De Niro and the team were remaining steadfast in their work despite the scare: “[The bomb scare] also made us, as we say, ‘Tribeca Strong.’
“Bob will continue to speak out about this administration and we will all continue to speak out about it.
“That’s our right and if somebody is going to take a crazy shot, so be it.”
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De Niro, who has previously openly supported candidates from the Democratic Party, had described Trump as a “national disaster,” and a “mutt who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
When the Oscar-winner attacked him at the Tony Awards in June 2018, Trump responded by calling him a “very low IQ individual”.
After news broke of De Niro receiving the pipe bomb, Trump appeared to blame the media, and tweeted: “A very big part of the anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the mainstream media that I refer to as ‘fake news’.”
However, he did not make any explicit or direct reference to the device found or any of the separate incidents.
A few months before Trump was elected in 2016, De Niro joined a chorus of celebrities outlining what they viewed as an absurd campaign, telling an audience in Sarajevo, Serbia, marking the 40th anniversary of his film Taxi Driver: “What he’s been saying is really totally crazy, ridiculous … he is totally nuts.
“I don’t know, it’s crazy that people like Donald Trump. He shouldn’t even be where he is, so God help us.”
Then, as part of a drive urging people to vote, De Niro made a string of scornful comments about the man who would become President: “He’s so blatantly stupid. He’s a punk. He’s a dog. He’s a pig. A con. A bullshit artist. A mutt who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
When Trump won, he offered a sombre tone: “He’s president now … half the country is horrified, many parts of the world are, and we’re gonna see how he does. That’s it. I give the benefit of the doubt that he’s going to try his best to do the right thing.”
When Trump lost to Biden in 2020, De Niro expressed his “relief” and said of claims that electoral fraud had taken place: “I think there’s a screw loose there. [Trump] just doesn’t get it.
“If he’d done what he should’ve done for the virus, he could’ve won this election. I wouldn’t be happy about it, but he would’ve done something right. He didn’t even understand how to do that.”
Meet the Fockers airs tonight at 11pm on Channel 5.
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