Robert De Niro Praises Gov. Cuomo’s Coronavirus Response as Nursing Home Deaths Backlash Grows

US actor Robert De Niro attends the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival opening night World premier

Actor Robert De Niro has praised New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying that the governor has acted in a presidential way during the crisis. But the Raging Bull star only had insults for — guess who — President Donald Trump, whom he described as “appalling” and an “idiot.”

The actor’s enthusiasm for Cuomo comes as the governor is facing mounting criticism for the recent revelation of 1,700 previously undisclosed nursing home deaths in New York due to COVID-19. Earlier during the outbreak, Cuomo mandated elder care facilities in the state accept coronavirus patients — a move that some say hastened the deaths of hundreds of senior citizens.

Robert De Niro made his remarks Wednesday during a virtual interview with comedian Stephen Colbert on The Late Show on CBS. Neither De Niro nor Colbert mentioned the recently disclosed nursing home deaths in New York during their conversation.

At one point, Colbert asked De Niro whom he would like to play in an eventual movie or TV show made about the coronavirus.
“I guess I’ll play Cuomo. He’s doing what a president should do,” the actor said. Colbert then asked, “Could you see ‘President’ Cuomo?” “Yes I could see it,” De Niro replied.

The actor then voiced his support for Joe Biden and described Cuomo as a “very capable back up.”

“I want everything to go well for Biden. At least we have a person who is very capable backup, if  you will. Not vice president. But if something would change, God forbid nothing will change. He’s doing a great job. He’s doing what any president should do.”

Later in the conversation, De Niro lashed out at President Trump for his handling of the coronavirus, calling him an “idiot.”

“We of course could have survived this much better if, uh, ‘idiot’ had done the right thing, and listened and heeded all the warnings,” the actor said. “There were many, many warnings. And we’re all paying for it now. It would have been bad in some ways but never like this.”

“It’s appalling. It’s appalling,” he added.

Colbert echoed many of De Niro’s sentiments in what turned into a mutual gripe session about the president.

“It’s all about him getting re-elected,” De Niro said. “I have no words for it anymore. I’m completely nonplussed, dumbfounded, confounded.”

During the conversation, the actor revealed that he has been working out to stay healthy while at home.

“I lift, keep the bones strong. It’s not like I like lifting for the sake of lifting. It keeps the bone mass strong. And cardio and the usual,” he said.

Colbert replied: “I got the image of you at the beginning of Cape Fear in my head.”

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