Robert De Niro went off-course during Tuesday night's National Board of Review awards gala to verbally attack President Donald Trump.
His piercing words and name-calling — which included "jerk-off-in-chief" and "f—ing tool" — came during the actor's introduction speech for Meryl Streep for her portrayal of the late Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham in The Post.
"Today the world is suffering from real Donald Trump. Come on. You know. What are we talking about? This f—ing idiot is the president. It's the Emperor's New Clothes – the guy is a f—ing fool," De Niro ranted, according to a transcript published by The New York Times.
Tonight's full Robert De Niro speech introducing Meryl Streep at the National Board of Review gala, referring to Trump: "This fucking idiot is the president. It’s The Emperor’s New Clothes – the guy is a fucking fool...our baby-in-chief – the "Jerkoff-in-chief" I call him" pic.twitter.com/lVXsSCIpvA— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) January 10, 2018
The 74-year-old compared Trump's administration to that of Richard Nixon's, attempting to tie in his political tirade to his task of introducing Streep as the best actress winner. In Steven Spielberg's The Post, Nixon is exposed as a "delusional, narcissistic, petty" leader who attempted to silence the Washington Post and The New York Times for publishing the Pentagon Papers, which unraveled a web of lies by the government.
"Our baby-in-chief – the j—off-in-chief, I call him – has put the press under siege, ridiculing it through trying to discredit it through outrageous attacks and lies," De Niro said. "And again, just like 1971, the press is distinguishing itself with brave, exacting journalism."
While De Niro held no punches in his introduction speech, others, including The Post's best picture winner Spielberg, opted to voice their political concerns in a subtler fashion.
"We are in a fight and it's a fight not just about alternative facts but it's a fight for the objective truth," Spielberg said during his acceptance speech for the politically-charged drama's win. "President Obama said in a recent interview, 'It's not that democracy is fragile, but it's reversible.' I wanted to do more than just sit down and watch television and complain to [wife Kate Capshaw] and my kids about what's happening to our country."
Meanwhile, Streep and Hanks used their time in front of the crowd to project the speeches they did not use at Sunday's Golden Globes after losing in their respective categories.
"I love men," Streep said, recalling the speeches of Hanks and Call Me By Your Name actor Timothee Chalamet, the ceremony's breakthrough actor winner. "Yeah, I know it's the year of the woman and everything, but oh my god. The men. All my mentors have been men, even my sixth grade music teacher Paul Grossman, who let me sing five version of 'O Holy Night' in French, German and something else. And he became a woman, the first man in New Jersey to have surgery and become a woman."
The Associated Press reports that because the event is not televised, speakers and award recipients have the opportunity to "more free-wheeling" with their words than at similar events.
Photo credit: Getty / Dimitrios Kambouris / Staff