Rob Reiner, a director and longtime advocate for liberal Democratic causes in Hollywood, ripped into Robert De Niro for his “F— Trump” outburst at last Sunday’s Tony Awards, calling the foul-mouthed speech counterproductive.
“If you have any interest in trying to preserve the democracy, and put it in the hands of somebody who understands government, who isn’t self-dealing, who cares about this country and the people in this country, then you’re helping Trump,” Reiner said in an interview earlier this week on The Hill’s “Rising” TV show with co-hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton.
“You’re helping Trump by saying ‘F— Trump’ because he can say, ‘Look at these people, these elitists,'” added Reiner, who defended De Niro’s right to share his opinion even as he found it tactically a mistake.
“There’s a very fine line between energizing the base and energizing the other side,” added the director of classics like “The Princess Bride” and “When Harry Met Sally…”
“Right now, if you’re a Democrat and you want to hold this president accountable you have to have some ability, some subpoena power to have hearings and to actually expose certain things, right now you have an enthusiasm gap,” he said.
“If you do things like that, that enthusiasm gap narrows because you make the other side more enthusiastic and so it’s not good,” Reiner said. “Plus, that’s not a smart way to talk about anybody.”
One day after De Niro’s F-bomb on the stage of Radio City Music Hall, Trump did indeed respond to the Oscar-winning actor, calling him a “very low IQ individual” who has received “to [sic] many shots to the head by real boxers in movies.”
“I watched him last night and truly believe he may be ‘punch-drunk,'” Trump tweeted. “I guess he doesn’t……realize the economy is the best it’s ever been with employment being at an all time high, and many companies pouring back into our country. Wake up Punchy!” he went on say in a separate tweet.
De Niro, long a critic of President Trump, kicked off a firestorm when he dropped the F-bomb just before introducing a performance by special Tony winner Bruce Springsteen last Sunday.
“It’s no longer ‘Down with Trump,’ it’s ‘F— Trump,'” the actor said, eliciting a standing ovation from many in the audience at Radio City Music Hall.
Watch the full clip of Reiner’s interview above.