SAG Awards 2020: Robert De Niro Declares He Has as 'Much Right as Anybody Else' to Call out 'Blatant Abuse of Power'

Robert De Niro is defending his right to speak out against President Donald Trump, despite the anger of some that a Hollywood actor would become so outspoken about politics. In a conversation with Variety ahead of his Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award during Sunday's ceremony, De Niro opened up about his frequent criticism of Trump's White House, revealing that it was he who suggested playing special counsel for the Department of Justice Robert Mueller on Saturday Night Live.

"I felt it was my civic duty to do Mueller because of what's going on with this whole administration," he told the outlet. "Whatever I can do to contribute to that, I'll do."

As for people who tell De Niro to stick to acting, The Irishman star wholeheartedly disagrees.

"I think there is a responsibility at some point," he said. "There's right and there's wrong and there's common sense and there's abuse of power and as a citizen I have as much right as anybody else. And if I have a bigger voice because of my situation I'm going to use it against what I feel is a blatant abuse of power."

De Niro has been one of the most vocal Hollywood voices speaking out against Trump, even appearing on The View last month to weigh in on the impeachment proceedings.

"We have to do this," he said at the time. "We have to go through the motions, symbolically, it means something. It's a taint on [Trump's] presidency. More than a taint, it's a stain. One that he deeply deserves. So, yes, we will go through it and take our chances. We have to take our chances no matter what."

De Niro wasn't hopeful that impeachment would mean Trump would step down as president, but argued that his impeachment was nonetheless a vital step.


"He's going to try to use it, then he got ahead of it, then he beat it like a gangster — 'I beat the rap,' like the Teflon Don," he went on. "He has to take that punishment, he has to pay the consequences. That's how I feel."

Photo credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty