Baldwin in Saturday Night Live riles Trump again

WASHINGTON• Alec Baldwin returned to Saturday Night Live over the weekend in his first post-election appearance, portraying United States President-elect Donald Trump as he grapples with his transition from candidate to head of state.

The cold open did not feature a bombastic Trump, but one slowly coming to terms with the reality of what the presidency entails.

Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, played by Kate McKinnon, increasingly grows nauseated as she ushers in person after person to meet the new president.

After General Joseph F. Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tells Mr Trump how excited he is to hear about the "secret" plan to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Mr Trump turns to his laptop. "Okay, right, here we go. Here we go. Big plan. Big plan. Google, 'What is ISIS?'" Mr Trump says. "Oh my - 59 million results."

He then picks up his phone: "Siri, how do I kill ISIS?" Turns out he was talking into a Blackberry.

The episode drew instant criticism from real-life Mr Trump on Twitter, a day after he demanded an apology from the cast of Hamilton, who had recited a short message to audience member Vice-president-elect Mike Pence: "I watched parts of @nbcsnl Saturday Night Live last night. It is a totally one-sided, biased show - nothing funny at all. Equal time for us?"

Mr Trump hosted SNL a year ago this month, in an episode that brought huge ratings, controversy and bad reviews. A year later, the show has drawn his ire.

Last month, he referred to an episode as a "hit job on me. Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal sinks. Media rigging election!"

SNL treated Mr Trump's victory over Mrs Hillary Clinton last week with a sombre tribute to Mrs Clinton by a teary-eyed McKinnon that featured no jokes. In this weekend's cold open, an out-of-work Virginian tells Mr Trump that if he can build a US$25-billion (S$35-billion), 3,200km wall on the Mexican border, he can bring back every single job that has been lost in recent years.

Trump then says: "$25 billion? It cannot be that much - oh God, oh God, don't worry, Donald. It'll be okay. Hillary is still ahead in the polls."

Later in the sketch, Mr Pence shows up and says that Hamilton was good. "I got a free lecture."

He then runs through the upcoming agenda items and the roadblocks to getting them done: repealing Obamacare and hiring a special prosecutor to go after Mrs Clinton.

"Scrap it. Scraaaaped," Mr Trump responds. "Sir, being President is not going to be easy," Mr Pence says. "But we'll get through it if we work hard, together."

"Thank you, Mike," Mr Trump responds. "You're going to do everything, right?"


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2016, with the headline 'Baldwin in Saturday Night Live riles Trump again'. Subscribe