Meryl Streep's Best Lines About Donald Trump Prove She's Been Taking A Stand All Along
In Hollywood, as in politics, personal convictions often translate onto the screen. Celebrities-turned-activists have a long and important role in the history of politics the world over, from Audrey Hepburn's part in the resistance against Nazi Germany to U2's Bono and his quest to end AIDS. In the most recent election, however, advocacy from the entertainment industry reached a fever pitch as celebs came out in droves against Donald Trump. And Meryl Streep was critical of Trump long before her moving Golden Globes speech, which touched on the rise of the President-elect in some of the best and most poignant ways. She said:
There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can't get it out of my head because it wasn't in a movie. It was real life.
The moving speech, delivered as Streep accepted her Cecile B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement, wasn't the first time the legendary actress used her platform to deride or criticize the real estate mogul who became our president-elect.
1. When She Was Bewildered By Trump's Political Rise
Even in August, when most of the country was sure Hillary Clinton would win the election, Streep was already worried about Trump's rise. When asked what she thought about Trump in an interview with The Wrap, the icon responded in the most Streep-like way:
I just keep thinking, ‘What’s wrong with half of everybody?' What is wrong?
Our thoughts exactly, Meryl.
2. When She Ironically Applauded Trump's Performance Abilities
But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart, not because it was good, it was — there’s nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth.
This quote, considered one of the biggest standouts of the entire speech, was all the more important because it was delivered by an award-winning and beloved actress.
3. When News Of Her Co-Star's Support Of Trump Caught Her Off-Guard
Upon hearing that her Bridges of Madison County co-star Clint Eastwood had thrown his weight behind Trump's candidacy, Streep reacted the way any of us have and will when we find out a beloved friend supports the demogorgon-in-chief:
I didn’t know that. I’ll have to speak to him. I’ll have to correct that! I’m shocked. I really am. Because he’s more — I would have thought he would be more sensitive than that.
4. When She Told The Truth About His Bullying
Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.
Calling Trump a bully is far from unusual, but to hear Streep's erudite and classy allusion to the president-elect's bullying without using his name was something else entirely.
5. When She Frankly Discussed What Appeared To Be Trump Mocking A Disabled Journalist
It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege and power and the capacity to fight back. It, it kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can’t get it out my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.
Perhaps the first "gasp" of Streep's speech came when she powerfully recalled the time in 2015 when Trump mocked Serge Kovaleski, a New York Times reporter who has a condition called arthrogryposis. Trump denied then and now that he was making fun of Kovaleski, but many, including Streep and the reporter himself, think that what he was doing was apparent.
6. When She Remarked On The Need For A Brave And Independent Press
I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood foreign press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, ’cause we’re going to need them going forward and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.
The similarities between "outsider" groups like Hollywood, the press, and foreigners was an overarching theme in Streep's speech, and her impassioned shout-out to the Committee to Protect Journalists has already resulted in a spike in donations to the essential watchdog group.
7. When She Simply Stated What She Thought About Trump's "Locker Room Talk"
Following headlines about Trump's comments during a 2005 Access Hollywood shoot, which the president-elect dismissed as "locker room talk," Streep, along with Amy Schumer, Whoopi Goldberg, Rose McGowan, and a number of other celebrities and everyday women took part a viral video titled "Not Okay." The video discussed the effect that such language has on girls and women. Streep's bit, while not the longest, perfectly captures how so many of us feel not only about Trump's so-called "locker room talk," but also about his troubling rise to power as a whole:
Not OK. Uh-uh.
With at least four years of Trump ahead of us, Streep and her left-leaning Hollywood ilk are likely to speak out more and more against the man who will soon be inaugurated as our commander-in-chief.