Alec Baldwin defends playing Trump on 'SNL' amid president's COVID-19 hospitalization

Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 mins read

Alec Baldwin is responding to critics who don’t think he should have played Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live amid the president’s COVID-19 hospitalization.

The actor took to Instagram on Sunday to discuss his appearance on the NBC sketch show’s season premiere. He spoke about the “considerable criticism” he received, “beyond some people sick of me doing this” in general, for “the perception that we are mocking [Trump] while he’s sick.”

Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump on the season premiere of "Saturday Night Live." (Screenshot: YouTube)
Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump on the sesason premiere of Saturday Night Live. (Screenshot: YouTube)

Baldwin said that the SNL team is a “savvy” crew who “don’t want to sink the ship. So 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 have that we wouldn't even get near that, in terms of content of the show. They would have done something else. I've seen that happen before."

He continued, "We only have the words of the White House itself and the people who work there themselves to go on, and all of them have all been saying he is not in any danger. We only have their word to go by. And if their word was that he was in serious trouble, then we probably wouldn't have done it. But that’s not the case. If they said he was in serious trouble, I can assure you we would not have done it. But that’s not the case.”

Baldwin appeared in the cold open in which the show spoofed Trump’s debate with Jim Carrey making his debut as Joe Biden.

Baldwin said they decided “the debate was something topical” that they had to cover. “We didn't have anything with him in a hospital bed, but we had the debate. You'd have to have a very good reason to avoid that, topicality-wise, and nobody thought that they were mocking somebody's illness by doing that."

The star who has portrayed Trump on the show many times throughout his presidency — and is not a supporter — added that there “are a lot of people out there who have the deepest amount of animosity I could possibly calculate in my adult life toward Trump, but there's a line they won't cross. They wouldn't say, 'I wish something happened to him,' or that he died, or whatever.”

As for “people who do that,” he added, “that's not the way it should be."

On the same day that Baldwin’s video was released, the president — who was to be quarantining amid his hospitalization for the infectious virus — was driven around the outside of the hospital to wave to supporters. Meanwhile, his press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, is the latest in his circle to test positive for COVID-19.

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