At a news conference for his new movie “Flag Day,” the two-time Oscar winner savaged the former president for his response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Penn, who has led an effort to test and vaccinate underserved communities, said Trump and his White House “let down” the country and the world with misinformation and “half-truths.” It was in “all terms an obscene administration humanly and politically,” he said.
“When my team and I would come home from test and vaccination sites at night, particularly during testing under Trump, to maddening news — it felt like someone with a machine gun gunning down communities that were most vulnerable from a turret at the White House,” he added.
President Joe Biden and his administration have provided welcome relief, he noted pointedly.
“In the transition to the task force that President Biden put together, it was really that feeling like a sun was rising,” he said. “There was no effort of integrity coming from the federal government until the Trump administration was dismissed.”
Penn previously accused Trump of “negligent homicide on a grand scale.”
“Flag Day,” which Penn directed and stars in with his daughter Dylan, premiered Saturday at Cannes, which hasn’t been held since May 2019 due to the pandemic. Masks are mandatory at the Palais des Festivals, and the party scene at the prestigious cinema gathering has been quieter than usual.
Based on a memoir by Jennifer Vogel, “Flag Day” focuses on the tumultuous relationship between a con man (Penn) and his daughter (Dylan Penn), who becomes a journalist.
Penn said he gave the script to Matt Damon a month and a half before shooting to gauge Damon’s interest in playing the lead but Damon told him that he would be a “stupid schmuck” to pass up the opportunity to act with his daughter.