Photo Credit: Charles Eshelman/Taylor Hill/FilmMagic
Somebody needs to tell Donald Trump that the point of a political campaign is to get people to like you. The billionaire TV personality, who has declared that he might run for president in 2012, is making a lot of enemies by supporting the birther movement (which calls for President Obama to disclose his birth certificate to prove that he was born in the U.S. -- and is thus eligible to be president).
Last week, Jerry Seinfeld dropped out of a Trump-sponsored fundraiser over Trump's comments on the issue, prompting the Donald to rage against him in the media. Now Trump is taking pot shots an even more respected celebrity: Robert De Niro.
In an interview with Brian Williams at the Tribeca Film Festival, the normally press-shy De Niro spoke out against birthers and their most high-profile champion, though he did decline to name names.
"I won't mention any of the certain people on the news in the last couple weeks," De Niro said when Williams brought up politics. "But what are we doing? This is crazy. They’re making statements about people that they don’t even back up. Go get the facts before you start saying things about people.
"It’s like a big hustle. It’s like being a car salesman," De Niro continued. "Don’t go out there and say things unless you can back them up. How dare you? That’s awful to do. To just go out there and speak and say these terrible things?"
Despite Williams making a Celebrity Apprentice joke, De Niro refused to name Trump explicitly in his rant. We think that was actually pretty classy of him -- but the Donald doesn't see it that way. On Monday's episode of Fox & Friends, the potential Republican candidate said that De Niro is "not the brightest bulb on the planet."
"I like his acting, but in terms of when I watch him doing interviews and various other things, we’re not dealing with Albert Einstein," said Trump. "He can say what he wants, but the fact is that (Obama) has not revealed his birth certificate, a lot of people agree with me."
Trump's total lack of diplomacy makes for great reality TV, but it's pretty baffling from a political candidate. So far, anyone who's dared to disagree with his fringe views has been called a moron and ridiculed in the press. It's the kind of grandstanding that garners TV ratings but not a seat in the Oval Office -- but perhaps TV ratings is what the Donald is ultimately shooting for. As one Celebrity Apprentice contestant tells Popeater, "This is all made up speculation that's designed to generate ratings... (Trump) is a genius at getting his name back in the headlines."