- The Washington Times - Monday, November 25, 2019

Mayor Pete Buttigieg is within the circle of trust.

While Robert De Niro was definitely not going to endorse President Trump, his latest rant included an endorsement of the South Bend, Indiana, mayor as “the best for what we need” to beat Mr. Trump, in part because of his homosexuality.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Beast, Mr. De Niro also called the president “a piece of s—-” that amazed him (badly) with his rallies.

But when asked which Democrat he thought had the best chance to beat Mr. Trump, he replied that while he wasn’t certain, “I like Buttigieg.”

“Buttigieg I like a lot. He’s got all the credentials — Rhodes Scholar, Afghanistan veteran — even though he’s young, and if he could get a chance it could be something special, I think,” said Mr. De Niro, star of “Taxi Driver,” “Meet the Parents” and the current film “The Irishman.”

The actor also cited the mayor’s being gay as a reason people would rally around him — though polling data suggests black Democrats are not rallying around him.

“As a gay person, he’s someone who comes from a marginalized community, so people from other ethnic groups can identify with him, even if they’re not gay, because they know what it’s like. I think he’s the best for what we need now,” Mr. De Niro said.

He spoke generally well of the other Democratic presidential candidates, noting that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg “can run the country as an adult. He ran this city for 12 years” and called former Vice President Joe Biden someone who “could get us into calmer waters, that would be a good thing. He means well … a guy who would do the right thing.”

And while he professed admiration for Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, he said it might not be realistic “to have them get everybody over the hump. I don’t know if people are ready for that. It’s too extreme.”

He did not speak well of Mr. Trump, saying he was turned into an activist by amazement at his 2016 rallies.

“I saw when he would go to those rallies and he’d say, ‘I want to get this person and punch him in the face,’ and I’d think, how dare this person have this kind of a rally. How dare you do that,” he said, after referring to him as someone who has “taken a lot of people down.”

“He’s a piece of s—- who never should have been there in the first place. It’s a joke. You look at this fool and you say, what’s happening?” he said.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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