De Niro slams Trump at presser outside N.Y. courthouse

The Biden campaign made a stop outside of the New York courtroom where former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial was taking place Tuesday morning — starring Robert De Niro.

It’s a shift in strategy for President Joe Biden’s reelection bid, which has largely ignored Trump’s criminal trial up until now. But the event did not focus on the hush money case. Instead, it was a campaign speech filled with attacks on Donald Trump. 


What You Need To Know

  • As closing arguments were taking place in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial, President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign held a press conference outside the New York courtroom, starring actor Robert De Niro
  • Joining De Niro were two former Capitol Police officers who clashed with Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021: Michael Fanone and Harry Dunn
  • The event did not focus on the trial, instead focusing on attacks on Trump; a Biden campaign official said the event was being held near the courthouse to take advantage of the contingent of media gathered there
  • De Niro got into a heated exchange with Trump supporters after he walked away from the news conference
  • Officials with Trump’s campaign blasted De Niro as a “washed-up actor” and sought to brand the Biden campaign as politicizing the ex-president’s trial 


Joining De Niro were two former Capitol Police officers who clashed with Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021: Michael Fanone and Harry Dunn. A Biden campaign official said the event was being held near the courthouse to take advantage of the contingent of media gathered there.

“We’re not here today because of what’s going on over there,” Michael Tyler, the Biden campaign’s communication director, said to reporters at the event. “We’re here today because you all are here.”

The press conference follows the Biden campaign unveiling an ad last week in which De Niro called Trump “blatantly stupid,” “a punk,” “a con” and “an embarrassment to this country,” adding, “I’d like to punch him in the face.”

De Niro continued to go after Trump on Tuesday as he claimed freedom and democracy are on the line in the election. 

“Under Trump, this kind of government will perish from the earth,” the “Goodfellas” star said. “I don’t mean to scare you. No, 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 the elections, forget about it. That’s all done. If he gets in, I can tell you right now, he will never leave.”

“We New Yorkers used to tolerate him when he was just another crappy real estate hustler masquerading as a big shot,” he added. “I love this city. I don’t want to destroy it. Donald Trump wants to destroy not only the city but the country, and, eventually, he could destroy the world.”

De Niro said he hopes his ad campaign will reach “outside the bubble to remind supporters of what a danger he is to our lives.”

“This is not a threat; this is a reality,” De Niro said. “And that’s why I’ve joined the Biden-Harris campaign, because the only way to preserve our freedoms and hold on to our humanity is to vote for Joe Biden for president. Really. We don’t have a choice.”

At one point, De Niro got into an exchange with a Trump supporter. De Niro had just called them “true heroes,” when the heckler accused them of lying under oath and called them “traitors.”

“I don’t even know how to deal with you,” De Niro told the man.

“They stood there and fought for us, for you. For you!” the actor added. 

After the heckler responded, “They weren’t fighting for me,” De Niro told him: “No, no they fought for you, buddy. You’re able to stand right here now.”

Fanone said he was there to remind Americans “of what Donald Trump is capable of and the violence that he unleashed on all Americans on Jan. 6, 2021.”

He said Trump supporters who attacked police officers were fueled by Trump’s lies about fraud in the presidential election, adding the lies “continue to this day” and “inspire my fellow Americans to turn against their fellow Americans, to turn against police officers.”

Dunn said: “Americans need to wake up. This is not a drill.”

“We can’t count on these institutions to stop Donald Trump,” he said. “It’s going to take us Americans at the ballot box to defeat him once and for all.”

De Niro got into a heated exchange with Trump supporters after he walked away from the news conference. 

Video shows the actor, surrounded by a sea of journalists, telling Trump supporters, “You are gangsters!”

After one of them tells De Niro, “You’re washed up,” the “Taxi Driver” star responds, “F*** you!”

Another Trump supporter then hit De Niro with a series of insults as the movie star walked away. 

“You’re a punk!” the man wearing a red  “Make America Great” cap said. “You’re a softy! You’re a nobody! Your movies suck! You’re trash! You’re trash! You’re done! You’re done after this!”

Trump senior campaign adviser Jason Miller called De Niro a “washed-up actor” and decried the fact that Biden’s reelection bid “showed up and made a campaign event out of a lower Manhattan trial day for President Trump.” Trump campaign press secretary Karoline Leavitt called it “a full-blown concession that this trial is a witch hunt that comes from the top” — even though in recent weeks, allies of the former president, including elected Republican officials and former rivals for the GOP presidential nomination, have taken to holding press conferences of their own outside of the courthouse to rail against the case and show their support for Trump. 

Trump’s eldest sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, and daughter-in-law Lara Trump, the co-chair of the Republican National Committee, held a press conference of their own on Tuesday to rail against the case.

“He needs attention because it’s been a while since he cranked out a good movie,” Donald Trump Jr. said of De Niro, adding of the Biden campaign: “The fact that they are holding a rally across the street from this very witch hunt, right across the street, tells us exactly what we all knew all along, which is that it is a political persecution.”


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