Staring straight into the camera, a slightly disheveled, older-looking, and obviously angered Robert De Niro flares up in a passionate rant against the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump.
“He’s a con, a bulls—t artist, a mutt who doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” De Niro said. “He doesn’t do his homework, doesn’t care, [he] thinks he’s gaming society, [he] doesn’t pay his taxes. He’s an idiot. Colin Powell said it best: He’s a national disaster.”
Now, for an actor that has played such notably fiery, loose-cannon characters, this is the angriest I have seen De Niro either on or off screen in years. De Niro himself, in interviews, seems to be a quiet man—a man that enjoys acting, but likes to live a modest public life compared to some of his other colleagues in Hollywood. When I first saw De Niro’s tirade against Trump, I was surprised at the vitriol that he directed at the real-estate tycoon, but as time went on, I reminded myself that Trump has inspired a similar reaction from myriad people, both famous and not.
Though many people who exist outside of the Hollywood limelight hold valid and compelling arguments against both candidates, I’m particularly interested, at least here, in celebrities’ opinions on the matter.
Jon Voight, an avid Trump supporter, took to Twitter to comment on De Niro’s comments about Trump:
“Donald Trump’s words [in the video released last Friday] were not as damaging as Robert De Niro’s ugly rant,” Voight said. “Could you imagine if any Republican said words like Robert De Niro used—against Hilary [sic] Clinton or Barack Obama? All hell would break loose.”
Besides this disagreement between De Niro and Voight, I haven’t seen any other big-name movie or TV stars battling it out with one another over the upcoming election. This, to me at least, is one of the most intriguing aspects of the debate. Seeing which celebrities have endorsed the two candidates says something about both Clinton and Trump.
Let me clarify some things. I’m not trying to say that people should base their decisions in this election on celebrities’ opinions. What I’m saying is, I’m a huge fan of the entertainment industry and I think that, to some degree, to be a really notable, special star, to acclaim a certain level of fame, you have to have some sense of how the world works and how people should be treated. This isn’t always the case, but I’d like to think that this is true of a lot of the Hollywood celebrities I admire. None of the people I point to are sociologists or experts in politics, but a lot of them are very charitable people and social activists as well. Aside from my own political beliefs, I think it’s interesting to see which candidates celebrities endorse, especially with viable accusations and claims being raised against both candidates this year.
On The Los Angeles Times’s celebrity endorsement tracker, you can see an accurate list of people who have financially backed and vocally or textually endorsed either Clinton or Trump. Going down the list, some of the most notable names in Clinton’s camp include Steven Spielberg, Richard Gere, Leo DiCaprio, and Tom Hanks. In Trump’s crew, you’ll find people like Mike Ditka, Hulk Hogan, Kid Rock, the Duck Dynasty fellas, and some of Trump’s cronies from The Celebrity Apprentice.
Now, again, I’m not saying the lists of celebrities and their endorsements should in any way affect one’s personal political beliefs. One should always hold true to his or her own principles and try to stay as politically informed as they see fit. I find it interesting, though, that looking through the L.A. Times’s list of endorsements, you’ll find under Clinton some actors, directors, and writers that have put together some of the most iconic works in Hollywood—works that have touched people through generations—and that with Trump, there are men obsessed with manliness and aggression.
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