Alec Baldwin defends SNL skit mocking Trump over COVID-19
Alec Baldwin is pointing to White House doctors’ sunny outlook on President Trump’s health in defending his “Saturday Night Live” portrayal, saying the show wouldn’t poke fun at the commander in chief if his health had been described as being “in serious trouble.”
The 62-year-old actor, who won an Emmy for his impression of Trump in 2018, reprised his role over the weekend during the 46th season premiere of NBC’s long-running sketch comedy show.
The cold open of the show lampooned last week’s combative first debate between Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and alluded to the president’s positive coronavirus test.
Jim Carrey, playing Biden, told the audience, “You can trust me because I believe in science and karma.”
“Now just imagine if science and karma could somehow team up to send us all a message about how dangerous this virus can be,” he continued. “I’m not saying I want it to happen. Just imagine it did.”
“We only have the words of the White House itself and the people who work there to go on, and all of them have been saying he’s not in any danger,” Baldwin said of Trump in an Instagram video posted Sunday.
“If they had said he was in serious trouble, then I can assure you we wouldn’t have done it, but that’s not the case,” Baldwin — a vocal real-life critic of Trump — said.
“You have to have a very good reason to avoid that topicality-wise. And nobody thought they were mocking somebody’s illness,” Baldwin said in response to pushback about the sketch. “There are a lot of people out there who have the deepest amount of animosity I could possibly calculate in my adult life, but there’s a line we won’t cross.”
Varying messages from White House physician Sean Conley and Trump administration officials have emerged since the president announced he and first lady Melania Trump were diagnosed with COVID-19 early Friday. They were taken to Walter Reed later that day.
Conley told reporters Friday that a day earlier Trump was suffering from “a mild cough and some nasal congestion and fatigue, all of which are now resolving and improving.” But following Conley’s remarks, a White House official, later identified by The Associated Press as chief of staff Mark Meadows, described the president’s condition as “concerning.”
Conley later said he was “trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, that his course of illness has had.”
Saying countless skit ideas were tossed out ahead of Saturday’s show, Baldwin told his 1.8 million Instagram followers, “If there was ever the suggestion that Trump was truly gravely ill, and people said Trump is really in trouble, then I would bet you everything I had that we wouldn’t even get near that in terms of the content of the show.”