“Saturday Night Live” guest host Alec Baldwin appeared as President Trump only once during the latest episode, and it was to take his displeasure with a federal court’s decision on his immigration order to a reality TV show.
“Mr. Trump, you understand that this is a TV court, right?” asked the host of “The People’s Court,” played by Cecily Strong.
“That’s okay, I’m a TV president,” Baldwin-as-Trump responded.
The episode had considerable buzz with Baldwin setting an SNL record. The actor has now hosted the show 17 times.
But Baldwin has been a constant presence this season, as his scathing Trump impersonation has elicited critiques — usually via Twitter — from the president himself, including when Trump was a nominee and the president-elect.
“I don’t think that his imitation of me gets me at all, and it’s meant to be very mean-spirited, which is very biased, and I don’t like it,” Trump told “Today” show host Matt Lauer in December.
While SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels has long insisted the late-night comedy show doesn’t take sides and always aims to lampoon whoever is president, the show has been more biting with some leaders than others. Will Ferrell portrayed President George W. Bush as a lovable idiot. Chevy Chase took a “First Klutz” approach to playing President Gerald Ford.
But Michaels has admitted that the show struggled with a take of President Barack Obama that resonated with audiences. And SNL reacted to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s loss with an emotional and entirely serious cold open.
Trump has remained publicly silent for the past week about SNL’s portrayal of him, but he was reportedly unsettled by Melissa McCarthy’s impersonation of White House press secretary Sean Spicer, particularly with the cross-gender casting.