During her first public speaking appearance since denouncing Donald Trump at the Golden Globes, Meryl Streep called out the president for his “catastrophic instinct to retaliate” and mocked his infamous tweet calling her “over-rated.”
“‘Evil prospers when good men do nothing’… ain’t that the truth,” Streep said Saturday night at the Human Rights Campaign’s 2017 Greater New York Gala Dinner. “We shouldn’t be surprised that fundamentalists, of all stripes, everywhere, are exercised and fuming. We shouldn’t be surprised that these profound changes come at a much steeper cost than it seems would lie true in the 20th century. We shouldn’t be surprised if not everyone is totally down with it. But if we live through this precarious moment… if his catastrophic instinct to retaliate doesn’t lead us to nuclear winter, we will have much to thank this president for because he will have woken us up to how fragile freedom really is… The whip of the Executive can, through a Twitter feed, lash and intimidate, punish and humiliate, delegitimize the press and imagined enemies with spasmodic regularity and easily provoked predictability.”
Much as Streep did during her powerful Golden Globes speech, she didn’t mention Trump by name. But she did take a moment to acknowledge Trump’s response to her Globes speech.
“Yes, I am the most overrated, over-decorated, and currently, over-berated actress… of my generation,” she joked. “But that is why you invited me here! Right?”
In the wake of her Globes speech, Streep was slammed by Trump himself, who took umbrage with the actress calling him out for mocking a reporter who has a disability by wildly waving his hands around.
“Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “She is a Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never ‘mocked’ a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him ‘groveling’ when he totally changed a 16-year-old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!”
It wasn’t all Trump during her speech Saturday night. Streep also defended a comment she made at the Golden Globes that received some backlash, in which she declared football and martial arts were “not the arts.”
“I do like football… I have watched more football in 60 years than anybody here,” she said. “But if you hear a woman in a restaurant say, ‘My son is very interested in the arts,’ she’s not talking about football or mixed martial arts because they’re just not the same thing. Some of us like football, some of us like the arts, many of us want both in our lives… I was making a joke, and Mike Nichols told me, ‘If you have to explain the joke, Meryl, you’re doomed.'”
Streep was on hand to accept the organization’s Ally for Equality Award, which recognizes the efforts of those who lend their voice to help the LGBTQ community.
Watch the full speech below.