President Donald Trump, the former “Apprentice” host and producer, slipped on his television executive cap Friday morning by suggesting NBC swap Alec Baldwin’s “Saturday Night Live” impression of him for Darrell Hammond’s.
Trump lashed out at Baldwin hours before he is slated to depart for Charlotte, North Carolina, for the funeral of Rev. Billy Graham. On Wednesday, during a ceremony at the Capitol where Graham lied in honor, the president urged all to “say a prayer for our country, that all across this land the Lord will raise up men and women like Billy Graham to spread a message of love and hope to every precious child of God.”
He started his Friday, however, with anything but. He lashed out at Baldwin, who has won wide acclaim for his satirical portrayal of the 45th president on the popular Saturday night comedy sketch show.
Trump first posted the tweet before 6 a.m., calling him “Alex Baldwin” and describing his career as “dieing (SIC)” and “mediocre,” adding it was “saved by his impersonation of me on SNL.” (About 20 minutes later, the president posted an updated version with Baldwin’s name and “dying” spelled correctly.)
Alec Baldwin, whose dying mediocre career was saved by his terrible impersonation of me on SNL, now says playing me was agony. Alec, it was agony for those who were forced to watch. Bring back Darrell Hammond, funnier and a far greater talent!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2018
Trump was on Twitter even earlier than usual, clearly responding to an comments Baldwin made during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in which he slammed Trump.
“Every time I do it now, it's like agony,” he said of his impression of the president. “Agony.”
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Trump’s tweet showed again how Baldwin’s impression has gotten under his skin, and how so much of his presidency appears based on how he is portrayed on television.
As North Korea continued its nuclear arms development and Congress showed few signs of striking deals on immigration and combating gun violence — two things Trump says he wants to pass ASAP — the president was using his social media account to fire back at Baldwin.
“Alec, it was agony for those who were forced to watch,” he wrote.
Baldwin told the Reporter that he will be further crestfallen “if things don't go in the right direction for the midterms.”
“I could go out on the street, stand on any corner and tap 10 people on the shoulder,” Baldwin said. “And all 10 of them, in all likelihood, would be more qualified — ethically, morally, intellectually and spiritually —than Trump.”
The actor said he would even vote for 2012 GOP Republican nominee and Utah Senate candidate Mitt Romney over Trump.
“I don't care. Anybody over this guy,” said the three-time Emmy winner and “Hunt for Red October” star. “It doesn't matter. We have to get rid of him.”
Trump often still brags about the high ratings “The Apprentice” once got on NBC. He returned to his television programmer mindset Friday morning, urging that network to “bring back Darrell Hammond,” dubbing him a “funnier and a far greater talent!”
Hammond portrayed Trump on “SNL” before Baldwin was hired for the role. The Washington Post reported in September 2017 that Hammond “felt destroyed” when he lost the gig to Baldwin. He even left New York, telling the newspaper his embarrassment was too much to deal with in the city that is synonymous with “SNL.”
“I just started crying,” Hammond said then. “In front of everyone. I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock, and I stayed in shock for a long time. Everything wiped out. The brand, me, what I do. Corporate appearances canceled. It was a hell of a shock, and all of it was apparent to me in one breath. That ends me.”