Robert De Niro had choice words for President Trump while speaking at the Chaplin Award Gala honoring Helen Mirren Monday night, where he took the opportunity to point out that Mirren is herself an immigrant. In a short but explosive speech, De Niro had ample praise for comedian Michelle Wolf’s controversial set during the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, and castigated the association for distancing itself from Wolf’s remarks.
“Congratulations, Helen, on being honored with this year’s Chaplin Award. This is what happens when you have weak immigration laws,” he opened to great applause. “Would we be honoring Helen Mirren tonight if that wall had been built? I just feel a little bad for Scott Baio. I had a feeling this was his year.”
De Niro is clearly an admirer of stand-up comedy, because his set killed. “I’m gonna digress for a minute,” he warned the crowd. De Niro then rattled off a list of Trump’s faults, including seeing “very fine people” in Charlottesville, passing a “self-serving” tax plan, “turning his back on Puerto Rico,” and ending DACA. Continuing in this vein, he said:
“And just two days ago trashing a comedian—a comedian—for making uncomfortable jokes at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. There was a lot of truth in Michelle Wolf’s jokes—” he paused, interrupted by applause. “And the bullies and liars are still intimidated by strength and the truth. Where we run into trouble is when we allow the bullies and liars to dictate the conversation. The White House Correspondents’ Association distanced themselves from Michelle Wolf’s performance. Shame on them! Stand up, strap on your balls, and deal!”
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De Niro also had choice words for Sean Spicer, who voiced criticism of Wolf’s remarks. “Another jerk, hypocrite,” said the actor.
But it wasn’t all name-calling, at least not the bad kind. De Niro promptly pivoted back to Mirren, calling her “An international mensch and a great broad.” He concluded by adding: “I like living in an America that recognizes the gifts of Charlie Chaplin and honors the extraordinary achievements of Helen Mirren.”