Alec Baldwin: SNL Wouldn't Have Mocked Trump If There Was Indication He's 'Truly, Gravely Ill'

SNL Premiere Trump COVID

Alec Baldwin says that if there was any sense that President Donald Trump had been rendered seriously ill by the coronavirus, Saturday Night Live would have stayed  more than six feet away from any perceived mocking of the hospitalized POTUS.

The Season 46 premiere’s cold open, which flashed back to the first presidential debate between Trump (played by Baldwin) and challenger Joe Biden (played by Jim Carrey), mostly sidestepped the president’s since-disclosed positive diagnosis and subsequent hospitalization — though at one point, Baldwin’s Trump claimed that the “China virus is a hoax,” before noting, “that will probably come back to haunt me later this week.”

Said opening sketched also ended with Carrey’s Biden imagining out loud “if science and karma could somehow team up to send us all a message about how dangerous this virus can be. I’m not saying I want it to happen, but just imagine if it did.”

But when you couple even the above with the Weekend Update jokes about Trump’s health status, some had to opine, “Too soon.”

Baldwin addressed the backlash in a lengthy Instagram video, saying, “If there was ever the suggestion that Trump was truly, gravely ill [at the time SNL aired], if people said, ‘Oh, Trump is really in trouble,’ I bet you everything I have that we wouldn’t even get near that in terms of the content of the show. They would have done something else; I’ve seen that happen before.”

As for the accuracy of the president’s prognosis at the time SNL went live, “We only have the words of the White House and the people who work there to go on,” Baldwin noted, “and all of them have been saying that he is not in any danger. If their word had been that he is in serious trouble…I can assure you we wouldn’t have done it.”

TVLine readers gave the episode, which marked SNL‘s second-most-watched premiere in 12 years, an average grade of “C-.”

Baldwin also ventured that some/many people may simply be tired of any portrayal of the president: “I also think that no matter who plays Trump, how well they play it, no matter what the context, it doesn’t matter… people are just sick of Trump, they don’t care who portrays him.”

After coughing a couple of times at the start of his video, Baldwin eventually paused to make clear: “Just a cough — Donald Trump, don’t get your hopes up.”

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