“Saturday Night Live” had a field day yesterday in its long-running mockery of President Trump’s and his administration’s blunders throughout the first 100 days in office.
The show’s latest cold open featured Alec Baldwin, who once again reprised his role as Trump, Jimmy Fallon as Jared Kushner, and a man dressed as the Grim Reaper, who portrayed White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. The skit also featured Beck Beckett as Vice President Mike Pence.
The skit opened with Baldwin’s Trump and Beckett’s Pence in the Oval Office, recapping a list of Trump’s accomplishments, which included just one item: nominating Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.
It then segued into a sequence poking fun at reports of infighting between Kushner and Bannon, who White House insiders say have built up some bad blood given their competing ideologies. After Beckett – as Pence – urged Baldwin to settle the dispute between two of Trump’s top advisers, Baldwin relented.
“Fine. Send in Steve Bannon. Send him in,” Baldwin said.
A man dressed as the Grim Reaper then entered the office as ominous music played in the background.
“Steve, wow, you’ve never looked younger,” Baldwin said, as the Grim Reaper nodded.
Baldwin continued, “And now, send in my little ‘Kush ball,’ Jared Kushner.” Jimmy Fallon then strutted into the room, donning a suit, bulletproof vest, and sunglasses – a reference to the way Kushner was dressed when he first visited Iraq and met with troops earlier in April.
“Boys, I’ve called you here tonight for an important reason,” Baldwin said, once the audience’s laughter had died down.
The lighting dimmed down and anticipatory music played in the background as Baldwin continued speaking, marking the beginning of a scene that was filmed as an elimination round, “The Apprentice” style.
“Standing before me are my two top advisers,” Baldwin said. “But I only have one photo in my hand. That’s right, tonight is elimination night. There’s been a lot of drama in the house, and that’s okay, but one of you must go, now.”
“Jared, you take the most beautiful photos,” Baldwin said, while Fallon feigned embarrassment and looked down before smiling at the audience.
“Steve, you take the worst photos I’ve ever seen in my life, I’m not joking,” Baldwin continued, speaking to the Grim Reaper. “When I see a photo of you, it makes me want to puke,” Baldwin said, as Bannon’s character continued to nod in agreement.
Speaking again to Fallon, Baldwin said, “Jared, I’ve sent you all around the world to represent me, but no one’s ever heard you speak,” an apparent reference to Kushner’s reticence when he’s in public or in front of the media. “You’re like a little Jewish Amelie.”
He continued: “And Steve…Steve, you may be smart, but I once walked in on you eating a live pig in the Roosevelt Room.”
Bannon’s character laughed and replied, “Yeah.”
As ominous music again started playing in the background, Baldwin said, “Moment of truth. The photo in my hand represents the man who will be staying tonight. You will get to keep advising me, and you will also get $100,000, courtesy of L’Oreal.”
He continued: “If you do not see your photo, you must immediately leave the Oval Office and join Kellyanne Conway in the basement.” That line seemed to poke fun at reports of Kellyanne Conway’s decreasing visibility in the Trump administration after a series of on-air blunders during interviews with cable news shows.
“But don’t worry, your journey does not end tonight, because you will get to come back at the end of all of this and help send me to prison,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin then announced that Kushner will be staying on as his top adviser and calls on someone to “take [Steve] back to hell.” Bannon’s character, the Grim Reaper, was dragged out the door by another, larger Grim Reaper.
The ending of the elimination round seemed like an allusion to reports of Bannon’s waning influence in the president’s inner circle as Kushner and more centrist forces in the West Wing have gained Trump’s trust.