NBC/Paul Drinkwater(WASHINGTON D.C.) — While President-elect Donald Trump took issue with Meryl Streep’s criticism of him in her Golden Globes speech, the White House is now defending the actress’ comments.
“She clearly was delivering a thoughtful, carefully considered message that she believes in deeply,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in Monday’s press briefing. “And it seemed to me to be a fairly straightforward exercise of her First Amendment rights as a citizen of the United States.”
During her speech, Streep singled out “one performance this year that stunned me…it sank its hook in my heart not because it was good…but it was effective, and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth.” She was referring to then-candidate Donald Trump’s imitation of a disabled reporter, though she didn’t say Trump’s name.
She then went on to say that when powerful people humiliate others, “It filters down into everybody’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence.”
When a reporter followed up to note that President Obama has been measured and cautious in his criticisms of the president-elect since the election, Earnest pointed out that the president, unlike Streep, has a specific set of institutional responsibilities in ensuring a smooth transition.
“I’m not aware that the United States Constitution includes any institutional responsibilities for the lifetime award winner of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association,” he said.
Earnest said he has not spoken to the president about his views on Streep’s speech.
Trump tweeted, “Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big.” He also denied mocking the reporter and added, “Just more very dishonest media!”
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