President Obama’s top spokesman on Monday defended actress Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech that criticized President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump's Hollywood Walk of Fame star defaced Report: Senate's Russia probe understaffed Trump won't comment on Le Pen's advancement in French election MORE.
“She clearly was delivering a thoughtful, carefully considered message that she believes in deeply,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
“It seemed to me to be fairly straightforward exercise of her First Amendment rights as a citizen of the United States," he added.
Earnest said he has not spoken to Obama about the speech but predicted the president wouldn’t publicly echo Streep’s criticism while he is still in office.
“He’s got institutional responsibilities,” the spokesman 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.”
Streep railed against Trump on Sunday night when accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes, noting a controversial incident during the campaign in which Trump appeared to mock a physically disabled reporter.
“But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good — there was nothing good about it — but it was effective and did its job," the actress said of Trump, without referring to him by name.
"It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth.”
Trump responded by dismissing Streep as an “overrated” performer and a “Hillary [Clinton] flunky who lost big.”
He added that “for the 100th time, I never ‘mocked’ a disabled reporter (would never do that).”
Obama is an admirer of the Academy Award-winning actress. He awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014.