Robert De Niro attended the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 45th annual Chaplin Award Gala in New York Monday night to honor Helen Mirren — but after a quite quick “Congratulations, Helen, on being honored with this year’s Chaplin Award,” he swiftly and quickly transitioned to ranting about politics — because, well, there’s plenty to rant about.
“I’m going to digress for a minute,” he said before starting a three-minute takedown of the White House Correspondents’ Association, the Trump administration and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“This is what happens when you have weak immigration laws. Would we be honoring Helen Mirren tonight if that wall had been built?”
First, De Niro went after the White House Correspondents’ Association, which released a statement saying that comedian Michelle Wolf’s monologue at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner “was not in the spirit” of this year’s event.
“There was a lot of truth in Michelle Wolf’s jokes, and the bullies and the liars are still intimidated by the strength and the truth,” he said, according to Huff Post. “Where we run into trouble is when we allow the bullies and liars to dictate the conversation.”
He continued: “Shame on them. Stand up, strap on your balls and deal.”
He continued with choice words for Sanders, who received the brunt of Wolf’s jokes at the WHCA dinner last weekend.
“I thought, ‘She’s got two or three kids. What is she going to tell her kids in 10 years about how she represented or protected Donald Trump?'” he asked. “How is that going to come through? I don’t know. How could she justify, rationalize her behavior? What does it take to just walk away from that situation?”
This isn’t the first time De Niro has taken a stand and dished out harsh political criticism recently. He has said at past events that he won’t stop speaking out until things change.
“As long as our country’s leadership is so appalling and so corrupt, I’ll be speaking out at every venue,” he said at the Fulfillment Fund charity dinner in Los Angeles in March (you can watch his speech below). “To be silent in the face of such villainy is to be complicit.”
Education without humanity is ignorance. Look at our President. — Robert De Niro pic.twitter.com/1EcdQeSUbA
— Tara Bitran (@tarabitran) March 14, 2018