During a Friday morning exclusive interview with Robert De Niro, CNN’s Poppy Harlow prodded the politically outspoken, liberal actor to bash President Trump. While the premise of the interview was based of the actor’s charitable work rebuilding the Caribbean island of Barbuda, which was devastated by Hurricane Irma last week, Harlow quickly turned the conversation to politics, inviting the actor to criticize Trump on every subject under the sun.
Harlow, who has a history of making provocative statements about the president on CNN, found a friend in her interviewee, who also has a reputation for speaking out negatively against Trump.
A few minutes into the exclusive interview, she turned the conversation to global warming and the United States’ response to it:
HARLOW: So Barbuda's prime minister told Time Magazine this week, quote, “We have no doubt this is a result of global warming and sea level rise and climate change.” The White House came out this week and said, when asked about this, that ‘it would need to conduct, quote, a trend analysis to determine if there's a connection.’ Any thoughts?
DE NIRO: Well, I think we all know the feeling from the White House, that they're not too in favor of the idea of global warming and so we have to deal with that. People will deal with it because no matter what the White House wants to do, the world sees it. There are changes. We're not certainly helping it by ignoring it. We could, at the least, are exacerbating the situation. And for the administration to turn their back on that is uh…. disgusting.
The CNN anchor kept prodding the actor to bash Trump some more, framing her questions about how “divisive” Trump was, and how terrible the country had become, because of Trump:
HARLOW: I think we have seen some of the most beautiful parts of this country in terms of the heart of this country come to the fore in the past three weeks in the devastation and recovery of Harvey and the same with Irma. This comes at a time of such division in America. And it seems to me like, and I wonder what you think, that people are yearning for togetherness?
DE NIRO: Yeah. Yeah. And wasting everybody's time about building a wall between Mexico and the States is, you know, come on, we need a lot of money for this. And we're not -- we're paying for that wall somehow later on they'll find a way to say we have to pay for it but I know the Mexicans aren't going to pay for it, just on principle. And so we really -- we need to really focus on other things, Harvey, Irma, I mean total devastation. Come on.
HARLOW: It seems like a moment to me where America makes a choice, do we come together or do we separate further from one another?
DE NIRO: Well, you would like everyone to come together and maybe we will. I don't know. I mean I -- as far as Trump goes he hasn't changed and I was always -- I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he'll change and do something. He hasn't done anything as far as I can see that changes from who he really is.
HARLOW: What about DACA?
DE NIRO: There you go. I mean what about it?
HARLOW: He says they're going to get DACA legislation through Congress, the Dreamers are going to stay here.
DE NIRO: So he put it on to them.
DE NIRO: Right? So in six months we'll see what he does. If it's not dealt with within those six months.
HARLOW: If you were to make --
DE NIRO: We'll see.
HARLOW: If you were to make a bet, do we as a country, you and I are sitting here five years down the road, is this country more together or farther apart?
DE NIRO: Maybe some miraculous things will happen, where even Trump will do something that’s surprising. I don't think so. But you never know. I'll then say okay. I give you that, but I don't think so.
HARLOW: I spent a lot of time along the rust belt and Kentucky, in places that where people put all of their hope in this president.
DE NIRO: Yeah.
HARLOW: And their livelihood depends on his success.
DE NIRO: Right.
Surprisingly, Harlow shifted gears at this point to bring up criticism many Americans feel for when Hollywood celebrities give their political opinions:
“Do you feel like Hollywood, you know, those living on the coast like I do, like you do, are too disconnected, we're too disconnected from that pain?” she asked.
De Niro replied that he was “hesitant” to endorse political candidates because he understands his role as a Hollywood elite and how that comes across, but argued that actors are more genuinely good people than Trump is:
I understand that people feel -- even I am hesitant sometimes to endorse somebody because I don't want to be just another elite Hollywood person doing that, but many of us feel that the right thing has to be done for people. And we really believe that. Someone like Trump doesn't really believe that. He can give lip service to it, but he doesn't really believe it.
“But they disagree with you and tell me, because I've sat with them and had dinner with them and they say ‘he gets me, and he is standing up for me and he is putting America first,'” Harlow pressed.
But De Niro agued again that Trump didn’t really mean the things he said.
“You know what the best con artist in the world say, ‘I'm putting you first,’ and what happens,” he responded.
Harlow then asked De Niro if he wanted President Trump “to succeed” in office.
“Of course I want him to succeed,” De Niro emphatically said. But he added,“I don't believe that he will.”
She then asked him what was the “number one piece of legislation” he wanted to see Trump support.
“DACA is one,” he answered.
“So if he signs DACA legislation to get Dreamers to stay here you will be hopeful?” she asked.
“Yeah. Because he will -- his action will have spoken louder than his big mouth and words because all he does is open his mouth and talk and insult people and put them down. You can't do anything. That's inexcusable,” he stated.
After the taped interview finished, Harlow and co-host John Berman praised De Niro for doing the interview with CNN.
HARLOW: His politics are clear and what he and everyone is hoping is that the recovery for Barbuda and for Florida and for Texas, after these hurricanes, is so far beyond politics.
JOHN BERMAN: That's a guy who doesn't do a lot of interviews, doesn't talk a lot. It goes to show how committed he is to getting the assistance to Barbuda, that he was willing to give you that focus.
But De Niro, like many in Hollywood, has spoken out against Trump several times before. While accepting a lifetime achievement award in May, he called Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the super liberal National Endowment for the Arts“bullsh**.” Also in May, De Niro blasted Trump as a “slob” a “pig” and a “bad con artist.” During his inauguration, De Niro supported a boycott and told people to be “on guard” against the elected president.