White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest lauded actress Meryl Streep for using her Golden Globes speech to attack President-elect Donald Trump.
“She clearly was delivering a thoughtful, carefully considered message that she believes in deeply,” President Obama’s top spokesman said Monday. “It seemed to me to be fairly straightforward exercise of her First Amendment rights as a citizen of the United States.”
Obama has yet to comment on Streep’s speech, but Earnest told reporters the president will likely refrain from criticizing the incoming administration during the final weeks of his tenure in the White House.
“He’s got institutional responsibilities,” he said. “He has to set aside those personal feelings in order to preside over an effective transition … The president has faithfully presided over a process that has done exactly that.”
While accepting the Cecil B. Demille Lifetime Achievement Award at Sunday night’s Golden Globes, Streep lectured Americans about why they should be disgusted by the president-elect.
“Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and Mixed Martial Arts, which are not the arts,” Streep quipped, in what was one of the night’s most pointed political statements.
— Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes) January 9, 2017
Trump’s alleged mocking of a disabled New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski was the “performance” that was most “stunning,” Streep said
“There was nothing good about it, but it did its job,” the actress said. “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 in real life.
She argued that Trump is galvanizing his supporters to incite violence.
“That instinct to humiliate when it’s modeled by someone in a public platform, it filters down into everyone’s life because it gives permission for others to do the same,” Streep said. “Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence.”
In 2014, Obama, who is adored by Hollywood, awarded Streep with a presidential medal of freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Trump fired back at the Hollywood actress on Twitter and insisted that he never made fun of a Kovaleski.
“Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes,” Trump said on Twitter. “She is a Hillary flunky who lost big.”
A pro-Trump, Catholic website compiled footage in September of “evidence” that Trump was not mocking the reporter’s disability during his rally last July, but just has a very limited repertoire of impressions.