Actor George Clooney has defended Meryl Streep's right to make a political statement at the Golden Globes Awards ceremony after she was criticized by president-elect Donald Trump.

While right-wing commentators criticized Hollywood as out of touch, celebrities such as Sally Field, Ellen Degeneres and Emma Stone defended Streep on Twitter.

In her acceptance speech for a lifetime achievement award, Streep referred to Trump's mocking of a disabled reporter at a campaign event, saying "it kind of broke my heart" and "disrespect invites disrespect."

Trump sent a Twitter blast Monday morning, saying Streep was "one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood" and the reports of his mocking of New York Times investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski are the work of "dishonest media."

"Aren't you supposed to be running the country?" said Clooney in response, adding that the U.S. was about to be "unlucky" in its choice of president.

"I didn't vote for him, I don't support him, I don't think he's the right choice," he said Monday at London reception for Syria rescue-workers documentary The White Helmets.

'Hope he will do a decent job'

"At this moment in our lives, we have to hope that he doesn't destroy everything. The reality is you have to hope he will do a decent job, because if the United States fails, really terrible things happen, so you have to hope that he can."

Clooney defended Streep's "right forever" to speak out.

In her speech, Streep did not mention the president-elect by name, but said "when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose."

Other celebrities to defend Streep's speech included author Stephen King, who called Trump's comments about Streep "childish, churlish, petulant … exactly why most Americans fear his presidency."

At the White House, press secretary Josh Earnest said that Streep had clearly delivered "a thoughtful, carefully considered message" that reflected her deeply held beliefs.

1st Amendment rights

"It seemed to me to be a fairly straightforward exercise of her First Amendment rights, as this is the United States," Earnest said.

Clooney, who supported Hillary Clinton in her bid for the presidency, went on to name presidents he did admire.

"When we needed a first president, we had George Washington," he said. "We had Jefferson, Adams.

"When we had the Civil War, we had Lincoln," he added, naming other office-holders — Roosevelt, Kennedy — before suggesting that the U.S. "got a little unlucky" with the George W. Bush presidency in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York.

"I think we're going to be a little unlucky now," Clooney said. "I can only hope for the best."

Clooney was in London with his wife, Amal Clooney, as backers of Netflix documentary The White Helmets, about the search-and-rescue teams who rescued people from bombed-out buildings in the Syrian city of Aleppo

"The White Helmets are the heroes. So if I can help them out at all, and people can know about it, in any way possible, that's a good use of celebrity, I think."

With files from The Associated Press