×

Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment, Imprisonment for Trump, Says Maybe Al Pacino Should Lead Instead

Robert De Niro honored Al Pacino, his longtime friend and four-time collaborator (with Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film “The Irishman” marking their latest pairing), at the American Icon Awards, and then called for a different type of tribute for President Donald Trump — “impeachment and imprisonment.”

“You didn’t think you were going to completely get away without a ‘f— Trump’ moment,” De Niro said midway through his speech at the Beverly Wilshire hotel on Sunday, as the actor’s pivot to politics was met with a mix of cheers, laughter and boos. 

De Niro then praised the other luminaries receiving awards at the event. “The champ Evander Holyfield, my friend Quincy Jones and my lifelong compatriot Al Pacino don’t lead America. Maybe they should,” the 75-year-old actor said. “They’ve earned our respect and admiration and they deserve this tribute. On the other hand, the individual who currently purports to lead this country is not worthy of any tribute, unless you think of his impeachment and imprisonment as a sort of tribute. And that’s how you can make America great again.”

The “Taxi Driver” actor has made a habit of hurling the f-bomb at the president at award ceremonies, most notably at the 2018 Tony Awards, where he put it bluntly: “I’m going to say one thing. F— Trump.” The Tonys crowd gave the outspoken actor a standing ovation, which was a much warmer reception than Sunday night’s audience. At points during the presentation, De Niro excoriated Trump over loud boos.

Upon accepting the award, Pacino opted for apolitical remarks. In fact, he gave more of a performance than a speech, spending most of his time on stage reciting Shakespeare and E.E. Cummings.

Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, who performed a stand-up set at the event, told Variety on the red carpet that De Niro and Pacino are “like Italian superheroes.” Maniscalco, an Italian-American himself, will appear in the upcoming “The Irishman” with the legendary actors.

“[Pacino] is an icon for giving back,” boxing legend Holyfield told Variety on the red carpet before accepting his own American Icon Award. The boxer recalled the importance of others giving back when he was growing up. “I wouldn’t have made it out without the Boys Club,” Holyfield said of the the after-school program where he spent his afternoons.

Other Icon Award recipients included NFL veteran Devon Still and philanthropists Jonathan D. Fisher and Christine Avanti-Fisher, while “Orange Is the New Black” star Jackie Cruz and Robin Thicke performed musical numbers at the event.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Anne Hathaway Modern Love

    Anne Hathaway Talks Mental Health Awareness, Playing a Bipolar Woman on Amazon's 'Modern Love'

    In Amazon Prime’s upcoming “Modern Love,” Anne Hathaway sheds light on an important facet of living with mental health issues, playing a bipolar woman who struggles with dating. “We’re all becoming more sensitive, wiser and more cognizant of gentility, and especially emotional gentility. I think those conversations are starting to happen. And I think the desire [...]

  • Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron.

    Charlize Theron Could Win Second Oscar for Playing Megyn Kelly in 'Bombshell'

    Charlize Theron walked on stage before a screening of “Bombshell” at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center on Sunday night and announced to the crowd, “I’m about to s— myself.” The Oscar winner had good reason to be nervous. The screening of the Jay Roach-directed drama about the fall of Fox News boss Roger Ailes was [...]

  • Charlize Theron speaks at the GEANCO

    Charlize Theron Talks 'White Privilege,' Growing Up During Apartheid in South Africa

    Charlize Theron, during an onstage discussion with her “Gringo” costar David Oyelowo about philanthropy at Thursday’s annual fundraiser for Nigerian children’s educational and health program GEANCO, said she was a beneficiary of “white privilege” while growing up in Apartheid-torn South Africa. “I obviously am a white person who benefited from my white privilege,” Theron said [...]

  • Lyliana Wray, Sam Ashe Arnold, Miya

    ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark’ Revival Team on Living Up to the Series’ Legacy

    The 2019 revival of “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” centers around the Carnival of Doom, a place that star Jeremy Ray Taylor (“It Chapter Two”) describes as “beautiful on the outside, but…in the middle of it, there are definitely dark secrets. Variety caught up with the young star during a carnival-themed celebration at Row DTLA [...]

  • Charlize Theron'The Addams Family' film premiere,

    Charlize Theron Speaks Immigration, Diversity in ‘The Addams Family’

    They’re creepy, they’re kooky, and they’re an allegory for immigration in America.  Charlize Theron discussed the changing face of the nuclear family and her animated film, “The Addams Family,” with Variety at the movie’s recent premiere at the Century City Mall in Los Angeles. “When you think of [the Addams] being around since the sixties, [...]

  • Emma Stone attends the Los Angeles

    Emma Stone Talks 'Cruella' Transformation, New 'Zombieland' Sequel

    Despite inevitable comparisons to Glenn Close’s iconic turn as Cruella de Vil in 1996’s “101 Dalmatians,” Emma Stone teased that her take on the infamous villain in the upcoming “Cruella” movie will be very distinctive. “It comes long before her story,” Stone told Variety at the premiere of “Zombieland: Double Tap” at the Regency Village [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content