While the president, 71, was making his first official trip to Los Angeles since his inauguration, the Goodfellas star, 74, was slamming him across town at an event for the Fulfillment Fund, a local organization that promotes higher education.
“A college education is important, but education without humanity is ignorance,” the actor began, according to PageSix. “Look at our president. He made it through [the] University of Pennsylvania, so he was exposed to a quality education, but he’s still an idiot.”
For years, Trump has cited the Ivy League education he received at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania — a school he’s described as “super genius stuff” — as evidence that he is “a very smart guy.” Earlier this year, he tweeted that one his greatest assets has been “being, like, really smart.” In a subsequent tweet, his said his presidential win “would qualify as not smart, but genius.”
When the audience booed Trump’s name, De Niro quieted them down, saying, “No, don’t boo, baby. This is for real. We have to do something about it, sorry. He lacks any sense of humanity or compassion. Of course, he did have to overcome the curse of growing up rich and spoiled and endure the heartbreak of bone spurs, maybe that had an effect.”
De Niro was referencing Trump’s five deferments from being drafted during the Vietnam War, including one for bone spurs in his heels.
After saying that his aim was not to politicize the event, he explained, “As long as our country’s leadership is so appalling and so corrupt, I’ll be speaking out at every venue. To be silent in the face of such villainy is to be complicit, and it’s especially appropriate tonight because Trump treats education as a con, a way to make a profit at the expense of the suckers.”
He continued, “Anyone here planning to get their higher education at Trump University? But don’t be discouraged, young people. Get your degree from a legitimate institution. You don’t have to become president. You can get an honest job or become president and restore integrity and dignity to the job of being president. In stark contrast to the Trump world of dishonesty and greed, tonight we celebrate generosity and devotion to service.”
This is far from the first time De Niro has accused the president of being stupid.
He last made his opinion on Trump known in January while introducing Meryl Streep with the award for best actress at the National Board of Review awards gala.
“It was fascinating to watch The Post. That story took place nearly 50 years ago, but there are many parallels today,” he said of Streep’s latest political drama. “At the time of the story, Donald Trump was suffering from ‘bone spurs.’ Today, the world is suffering from the real Donald Trump.”
He went on to compare Trump to former President Richard Nixon, who was in office at the time of the Pentagon Papers.
“This f—ing idiot is the president. It’s the Emperor’s New Clothes —the guy is a f—ing fool,” he said. “Our government today, which the propping of our baby-in-chief — the Jerkoff-in-chief I call him — has put the press under siege, ridiculing it by trying to discredit it through outrageous attacks and lies. And again, just like in 1971, the press is distinguishing itself with brave, exacting journalism.”
Last May, while speaking to a class of Brown University graduates, the Oscar-winning actor lamented that “in movie terms,” the U.S. was once “an inspiring uplifting drama” but has now turned into “a tragic dumbass comedy,” according to the Associated Press.
The day before the commencement ceremony, he also called the current political climate “nightmarish” and referred to President Trump as an “idiot.”
De Niro has long been critical of Trump’s political acumen, likening him to a car salesman with “a big hustle” in 2011 and describing him last summer as “totally nuts” and unfit to lead. A month before the election, De Niro said in an outtake for a celebrity endorsement video that he’d “like to punch [Trump] in the face.” (After Trump won, De Niro said he “can’t [punch him] now — he’s the president”.)
Trump has been largely silent in the face of De Niro’s criticism. After the actor’s 2011 comments, Trump told Fox & Friends of De Niro, “I like his acting, but in terms of when I watch him doing interviews and various other things, we’re not dealing with Albert Einstein.”