Donald Trump is a “lunatic” who “doesn’t care how many people die” from coronavirus, actor Robert De Niro has said.
The Hollywood star, a long-time critic of the president, told Newsnight it was “Shakespearean, the whole thing, you’ve got a lunatic people are trying to dance around”.
He went on: “They’re doing it in the [Senate] hearings a little more, trying to say tactfully that this is what will happen, Fauci is doing that… it’s appalling. [Trump] wants to be re-elected. He doesn’t care how many people die.”
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The US has more than 1.3 million coronavirus cases and over 83,000 deaths, more than any other country, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the illness.
Asked whether Mr Trump’s base would vote for him anyway, the actor said those supporters were “deluding themselves” by believing Mr Trump cared about them.
“He doesn’t care for those people, and the people he pretends to care about are the people he has the most disdain for,” he added.
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New York, where the two-time Oscar winner, 76, is from, has been the epicentre of the US outbreak, but in contrast to his views on Mr Trump, De Niro heaped praise on New York governor Andrew Cuomo.
He, the actor said, “has done a great job… he’s done what Trump should have done but he doesn’t have a clue how to do that”.
He even said he would like to play Mr Cuomo in a movie about the pandemic.
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The city, he said, “is kind of like a ghost town… it’s surreal… then you see other parts of the world, other great big cities of the world, are also in the same situation”.
“It’s interesting, it’s kind of like a science fiction movie but it’s real,” he said.
De Niro has been a frequent critic of Mr Trump since the former reality TV star entered the Oval Office in 2017.
After the actor yelled “f*** Trump” at the Tony Awards in 2018, the president responded on Twitter.
He said: “Robert De Niro, a very Low IQ individual, has received too many shots to the head by real boxers in movies. I watched him last night and truly believe he may be ‘punch-drunk’.”
Mr Trump has been widely criticised for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, having made it clear he is keen to get the US economy moving again by having the public return to work as soon as possible.
Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s top leading infectious diseases expert, told a Senate hearing this week that rushing to reopen businesses and schools could have dire consequences.