Alec Baldwin defends playing Donald Trump after COVID-19 diagnosis

Alec Baldwin defends playing Donald Trump after COVID-19 diagnosis

October 5, 2020

Alec Baldwin defends portraying Donald Trump on the season premiere of SNL after the president tested positive for COVID-19: ‘We thought we kept the gloves on’

Alec Baldwin returned as President Donald Trump for the season premiere of SNL on Saturday in a debate sketch marking Jim Carrey’s debut as former Vice President Joe Biden. 

The live episode aired a day after Trump, 74, revealed that he and the First Lady, Melania, 50, had both contracted the coronavirus and as a result, the Emmy winning actor was met with criticism by some who felt like he was ‘mocking’ the sick president.

In response, Baldwin defended his portrayal as Trump in a nearly 15 minute long Instagram video explaining that, at the time, the White House said the president wasn’t ‘in any danger.’

In defense: Alec Baldwin took to Instagram to defend his portrayal of Donald Trump on SNL this weekend following the president’s positive coronavirus diagnosis

Alec, 62, took the opportunity to address what he called the ‘considerable criticism’ he was seeing online from people who felt like he and the show were ‘mocking [Trump] while he’s sick.’

On Saturday, SNL had gone ahead with their planned sketch about the recent presidential debate and made a few last minute modifications to add in some lighthearted quips about Trump contracting COVID-19.  

‘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 the content of the show,’ Baldwin explained. ‘They would have done something else. I’ve seen that happen before.’

A long time vet of working with the show, Alec revealed that Lorne Michaels, the producers and writers are always careful not to go too far with what they’re willing to joke about. 

Speaking out: The live episode aired a day after Trump, 74, revealed that he and the First Lady, Melania, 50, had both contracted the coronavirus and as a result, the Emmy winning actor was met with criticism by some who felt like he was ‘mocking’ the sick president

‘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 the content of the show,’ Baldwin explained

‘You wouldn’t believe the stuff that is proposed,’ Baldwin said. Adding that ‘some of the stuff people propose, it is outrageous.’

That being said, Alec explained that since Trump’s own White House claimed that he wasn’t gravely ill and was only showing mild symptoms, they decided to move forward with the skit. 

‘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,’ he said. 

‘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,’ he continued. ‘I can assure you we wouldn’t have done it.’ 

Making it work: Alec explained that since Trump’s own White House claimed that he wasn’t gravely ill and was only showing mild symptoms, SNL decided to move forward with a debate sketch and added in some lighthearted jabs about his coronavirus diagnosis

‘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,’ he said.

Alec said that based on the information that they had, ‘nobody thought they were mocking somebody’s illness.’  

A report run by TMZ Saturday morning stated that the president’s illness left the show ‘scrambling’ to adjust the episode to include it.

Although it was thought that the presidential debate Tuesday night would be the week’s main news fodder, Trump’s health situation had become prominent, with the show trying to adopt a ‘sensitive’ approach.

People working on the show were reportedly up late the night before the premiere figuring out how to incorporate the president’s COVID-19 into the episode. 

‘If you didn’t like Trump, the sketch, sorry,’ he said in conclusion. ‘We thought we kept the gloves on.’

Shortly before the episode aired, Trump delivered a taped address to his Twitter followers updating them on his condition. He shared that he was ‘starting to feel good’ and called his treatments, which include the Ebola drug remdesivir, ‘miracles from God.’ 

‘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,’ Baldwin said in his video. ‘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.’     

‘If you didn’t like Trump, the sketch, sorry,’ he said in conclusion. ‘We thought we kept the gloves on.’ 

During the video, which he dubbed his ‘Sunday ramble’ in an Instagram caption, Baldwin also discussed getting back into the studio to film after being shut down due to the pandemic calling it ‘an extraordinarily unusual experience.’  

Satire: Before the episode aired, Alec shared this photo to Instagram of himself in costume as Donald Trump wearing an N95 facemask

Everyone was tested for COVID-19, the crew wore masks and shields and the cast had masks on whenever they weren’t in a scene. 

The coronavirus lockdowns began while the show was still in the midst of its 45th season, which had to pivot to virtual performances.

However for the latest season the cast returned to the studio in New York City to work together again with a limited studio audience.

Jim Carrey, who became a star on the sketch show In Living Color, is playing Trump’s presidential challenger Joe Biden on the new season.    

They’re back: SNL returned for season 46 on Saturday back in studio with new COVID-19 protocols following a virtual end to the previous season because of coronavirus

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