(WASHINGTON POST) - It's an impersonation so biting that United States President Donald Trump himself has publicly, and repeatedly, criticised it - and one that has coincided with a ratings revival for Saturday Night Live. But Alec Baldwin says he won't be donning that blond wig and giant red tie much longer.
Baldwin, who first debuted his Trump impersonation in October during the general election, signalled that his time as the commander-in-chief will be coming to an end soon.
"The maliciousness of this White House has people very worried, which is why I'm not going to do it much longer by the way, the impersonation," Baldwin told Extra on Monday (March 6). "I don't know how much more people can take it, you know."
The last time he played Trump on SNL was on Feb 11, when he guest-hosted. And while he normally opens the show as Trump, he didn't even appear as the president until midway through the episode.
As candidate, Trump tweeted that Baldwin's impersonation "stinks". Even after winning, he couldn't stop complaining about it, telling Matt Lauer that he likes Baldwin but "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".
For his part, Baldwin is also no fan of Trump's performance as president, and has previously offered to stop his impersonation if Trump releases his tax returns.
"Trump just overwhelmingly lacks any sportsmanship. He remains bitter, and angry," Baldwin said on Extra. "And you want to look at him and go, 'You won!' His policies aside, which you can hate, I thought he would have just relaxed and said, 'hey man, there's a style the president has to have.'"
If Baldwin does step down from his Trump duties, that may put NBC's late-night comedy show in a bit of a bind. Taran Killam used to play Trump, but the show didn't renew his contract for its 42nd season. And SNL veteran Darrell Hammond, who revived his nearly 20-year-old impersonation of the Republican beginning in 2015, is now the show's announcer.
More recent episodes have shown how the show is relying on pinch hitters such as Melissa McCarthy, and focusing on a broader cast of characters (such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions) to tackle the political headlines of the week.
There is another high-profile potential gig for Baldwin's Trump: the White House correspondents' dinner. Last week, Baldwin told Jimmy Kimmel he wasn't "not lobbying" to play Trump at the event, teasing that something like that could be in the works.
But on Monday, Baldwin tampered down speculation that he'd show up, telling Extra he would "probably do it" if the association asked, but he didn't "think it's going to happen".
"I don't think they want that, for their prestige and their integrity," he said. "A lot of people are thinking if Trump himself doesn't come and face the music, as it were... I don't know what kind of programme they're going to have."