Suddenly he said: I'm going to say this - F-K TRUMP.
The denunciation is less of a surprise when you consider that a month before Trump was elected, De Niro made a video in which he called him a "pig" and a "bullshit artist". "It's no longer 'down with Trump, ' it's 'f-- Trump'".
De Niro is one of the most respected actors in the United States with two Oscar wins for Raging Bull and The Godfather: Part II.
However, before doing what he was supposed to do, De Niro said, "I just want to say one thing; F*** Trump".
The gathered crowd seemed to agree with his message with applause, whoops and a standing ovation coming from the audience.
"It's taken us about 50 years to realize how important diversification is and every political leader in Canada since that time has talked about the need for diversification", he says.
A noted liberal, he has been critical of President Trump, a Republican, at other show business events, but none with the high profile and reach of the Tony Awards, which salute performances in Broadway theater.
The man behind Angels in America, legendary playwright Tony Kushner, spoke to reporters backstage about De Niro's spirited introduction for Springsteen, the AP reported. "I'd like to punch him in the face!"
"Some Broadway guy saying 'Who's gonna argue with De Niro?' Ah, tens of millions, maybe".
ABC's talk show The View's co-host Meghan McCain also critiqued De Niro: "When you're talking about how Trump is degrading our national discourse with his language, this is not the way to combat Trump, it only helps him".
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