Robert De Niro takes thinly veiled swipe at Donald Trump during SAG Awards

By Keiran Southern, PA Los Angeles Correspondent

Robert De Niro took a thinly veiled swipe at Donald Trump as he decried “a blatant abuse of power” at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The venerated actor received the latest honour of his garlanded career when he was bestowed with a lifetime achievement gong during the SAGs.

To a lengthy standing ovation and loud cheers, Leonardo DiCaprio introduced De Niro to the stage, where he delivered a politically-charged acceptance speech.

Leonardo DiCaprio presented Robert De Niro with a lifetime achievement award at the SAG Awards (Photo/Chris Pizzello)

The 76-year-old two-time Oscar winner, a frequent and vociferous critic of the president, first praised the work of unions, saying politicians who support organised labour are more likely to  be in favour of “a diverse citizenry, reproductive rights, sensible gun control and fair wages and benefit”.

Then, The Irishman star De Niro turned his attention to Mr Trump, though never mentioned the president by name.

“I can imagine some of you are saying, ‘Alright, let’s not get into the politics,’” De Niro said.

“But we’re in such a dire situation and it’s so deeply concerning to me and so many others, I have to say something. There’s right and there’s wrong, and there’s common sense and there’s abuse of power.

Robert De Niro poses with his lifetime achievement award (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

“And as a citizen, I have as much right as anybody – an actor, an athlete, a musician – anybody else to voice my opinion. And if I have a bigger voice because of my situation, I’m gonna use it whenever I see a blatant abuse of power.”

The star-studded audience inside the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles delivered another roar of approval.

De Niro is one of Hollywood’s greatest ever stars known for films including The Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, Goodfellas and Casino.

Before inviting De Niro to the stage, DiCaprio reflected on his career, which includes accolades such as Oscars, a Golden Globe and a presidential medal of freedom.

De Niro has won further critical acclaim for his role as ageing assassin Frank Sheeran in Netflix’s The Irishman.