Alec Baldwin is defending his decision to portray President Donald Trump on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live while the president was in the hospital fighting COVID-19. In a video posted on Instagram, Baldwin says that if there had been any indication that Trump was "truly, gravely ill," then the show would have shied away from the topic. But the White House insists that Trump is doing fine despite the illness. Since the public has nothing to go on except what the white house claims, there was no reason Saturday Night Live shouldn't address Trump's condition on its season premiere.
"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," Baldwin said. "They would have done something else. I've seen that happen before."
"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 isn't 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."
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Baldwin goes on to say, "We thought the debate was something topical, and 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.
"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. And people who do that, that's not the way it should be."
The episode included lots of content about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic even outside of the Trump diagnosis. One such sketch was a music video about wearing a mask that name-dropped Bane.0comments
The coronavirus was a big focus behind-the-scenes as well as SNL returned to Studio 8h for its premiere and again had a live studio audience. Audience members were tested for COVID-19 and required to wear masks. SNL requires COVID-19 tests before admission into dress rehearsals and live shows. According to the Saturday Night Live ticket site, "This is a self-administered lower nasal antigen test with results yielded before the show." There are also be temperature tests for anyone checking in at 30 Rock.
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