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De Niro Delivered Blistering Trump Attack Outside NY Courtroom

Actor sounded off as Trump supporters hit back.

In Act II, Scene VII of William Shakespeare’s celebrated comedy As You Like It, he wrote:

“All the world’s a stage,

“And all the men and women merely Players;

“They have their exits and their entrances,

“And one man in his time plays many parts … “

Though these words were written centuries ago, they seem appropriate for a command performance by actor Robert De Niro outside a Manhattan courthouse where Donald Trump is on trial. It was the first foray by a Biden campaign surrogate into what has been exclusively Trump territory for the length of the criminal proceeding. And it came at what many would consider the trial’s climax, as both sides were set to deliver closing arguments.

In many ways, the trial has been a boon to the Trump campaign, with the former president taking full command of the media stacked cheek to jowl every day court has been in session. The drama of a criminal trial involving a former president has a way of sucking all the oxygen out of the room and providing the most sought-after of political blessings – free airtime – allowing Trump to take center stage even while under a gag order. Joe Biden/Kamala Harris campaign communications director Michael Tyler said as much in his opening salvo to the press gaggle: “We’re here today because you all are here.” After brief remarks, Tyler turned the microphone over to the famed actor-director to make his case against The Donald.

Robert De Niro — Who is Donald Trump?

It could be said that the 2024 presidential election boils down to one’s perception of Trump. De Niro took the stage and launched into a damning assessment of the former president. Here are a few excerpts from his prepared remarks:

“I love this city. I don’t want to destroy it. Donald Trump wants to destroy it — not only this city but the country, and eventually, he could destroy the world.”

“Somehow, he also got self-styled patriots to support a man who called for terminating the Constitution and, on January 6th, rallied an angry mob to threaten democracy, leaving death and destruction in its wake. That’s why I needed to be involved and wanted to be involved in the new Biden/Harris ad — because it shows the violence of Trump and reminds us that he’ll use violence against anyone who stands in the way of his megalomania and greed.”

“Now he’s promising to use our own military to attack US citizens. That’s the tyrant he’s telling us he’ll be. And believe me, he means it.”

“I don’t mean to scare you. No, wait, maybe I do mean to scare you. If Trump returns to the White House you can kiss these freedoms goodbye that we all take for granted. And elections – forget about it – that’s over. That’s done. If he gets in — I can tell you right now – he will never leave.”

“Do we want him running this country and saying I’m not leaving, I’m dictator for life.”

Those who support Trump do not see him in this light. Their perspective is diametrically opposed to De Niro’s. They see the former president as a savvy businessman at home and an intelligent negotiator abroad. Though he is elite, he is not an elitist. His Make America Great Again slogan speaks to the country’s better days, and America First means he puts American concerns above all else.

Those who back Trump understand his plainspoken and, at times, caustic remarks. They do not see him as a tyrant but as a defender of freedom and protector of the individual against overzealous government authorities. They experience him as someone who loves to be around them, engage with them, and listen to them. Above all, Trump supporters believe the former president places their “pursuit of happiness” before the world’s concerns.

With such major differences of opinion, would it come as a surprise that the Academy Award winner got into a dust-up with a Trump supporter? Simon Ateba, chief White House correspondent for Today News Africa, related the scene in a post on X:

“Robert De Niro clashes with Trump supporters outside courthouse in New York, tells them, ‘You are gangsters. You are gangsters. **** you.’ Trump supporters respond, ‘You’re a little punk. You’re a nobody. Your movies suck. You’re trash. You’re trash. You’re done. You’re done.’”

As You Like It

Whether De Niro’s endorsement will move the needle for Biden is unclear. His acerbic message seemed to address the people who were already in the president’s camp. However, what the incumbent needs now are centrist voters—those who do not see Trump as evil incarnate or Biden as the savior of democracy. It just may be that the Biden/Harris campaign believes it needs to fire up its base, and the best way to do that is by demonizing its opponent.

If Shakespeare had it right that “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely Players,” De Niro did his job and perfectly played the role of a staunch Biden supporter. To many MAGA voters, however, Trump is not an actor but a form of reality TV – one they hope will be a true survivor.

Read More From Leesa K. Donner

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