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Viewers who were tuned in for the end of Saturday’s episode saw host Adam Driver and the principal cast exit the stage after goodnights, forgoing the usual round of hugs and pleasantries exchanged as the credits roll. Instead, musical guest West, who was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, launched into a third performance with the song “Ghost Town” featuring Kid Cudi. Midway through, NBC cut to commercial, as the show had reached the end of its allotted airtime — but West didn’t stop there.
After finishing his performance, he began pontificating about the “liberal media” attacking Trump and his own rumored 2020 presidential bid. This resulted in boos from the audience, as the SNL cast stood off to the side of the stage and kept their heads down. The impromptu speech was captured in part by comedian Chris Rock, who can be heard saying “Oh my God!” as West continued to defend Trump.
“There’s so many times I talk to, like, a white person about this and they say, ‘How could you like Trump? He’s racist,'” West said. “Well, if I was concerned about racism, I would’ve moved out of America a long time ago.”
A complete video was uploaded to Twitter by West’s record producer, Mike Dean, who was backstage at the time. During the rant, West can be heard accusing the SNL cast and crew of bullying him about supporting Trump.
“They bully me backstage,” he said. “They say, ‘Don’t go out there with that hat on.’ They bullied me backstage. They bullied me, and then they say I’m in the sunken place. You want to see the sunken place? OK, I’m gonna listen to y’all now, and I’m gonna put my Superman cape back on,” he said, as he slipped back on his MAGA cap. “You can’t tell me what to do. Follow your heart, and stop following your mind… If you want the world to move forward, try love.” He later thanked the SNL cast for “giving me this platform… I know some of y’all don’t agree, but y’all be going after the man… and I don’t actually think it’s that helpful.”
Then on Sunday, President Trump reacted to West’s unaired speech on Twitter. “Like many, I don’t watch Saturday Night Live (even though I past hosted it) — no longer funny, no talent or charm,” he said. “It is just a political ad for the Dems. Word is that Kanye West, who put on a MAGA hat after the show (despite being told ‘no’), was great. He’s leading the charge!”
Saturday’s SNL premiere drew plenty of attention for its cold open featuring Matt Damon as Supreme Court hopeful Brett Kavanaugh, but did not in fact go after Trump directly. In fact, portrayer Alec Baldwin was a no-show.
Watch the entire rant below: