An incident in which CNN reporter Jim Acosta refused to surrender his microphone to a White House intern during his questioning of President Trump went viral last week after the suspension of Acosta’s press credentials. So it should come as no surprise that “Saturday Night Live” spoofed it.
In a “Weekend Update” sketch, the intern is played by SNL’s Cecily Strong, who timidly walks on set and makes repeated awkward attempts to snatch host Colin Jost’s pencil.
“This is that White House intern that tried to grab the mic from Jim!” Jost exclaims. “No, you cannot take my pencil!”
On Wednesday, press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that the White House had revoked Acosta’s press pass after the journalist clashed with the president during a news conference earlier in the day. Trump lashed out at Acosta after he asked the president whether he had demonized immigrants by characterizing a caravan of Central American migrants making its way to the U.S.-Mexico border as “an invasion.”
Sanders falsely claimed Acosta placed his hands on a “young woman just trying to do her job,” an assertion that Acosta denied with support from journalists who sat next to him. That night, Sanders tweeted a doctored video that makes Acosta’s actions appear more violent and aggressive than they were.
In the SNL sketch, Jost is discussing news of Acosta’s suspended credentials when Strong appears in frame. She lurches for his pencil with several jerky movements, complete with ducking down beneath the desk, karate chops and a veritable barrel roll. “Weekend Update” co-host Michael Che is visibly confused during the interaction.
Strong eventually obtains the pencil and walks off set before Jost returns to discussing current events. She returns moments later, however, with a new claim:
“My boss Sarah says you can’t come to the White House anymore because you punched me,” Strong says. “Sarah made a video, took a video, made a video, crap. ROLL IT."
The edited video depicts Jost with a giant, cartoon arm and boxing glove punching at Strong’s intern, who cries out “Here I go” as the screen cuts to footage of a woman doing a flip into the water and then to a child being pushed into a snowman.
“That did not happen. That video is clearly doctored,” Jost says. “That is not fair.”
“My boss tweeted it, so it’s real,” Strong replies before silently disappearing behind the desk.
After the news conference, CNN tweeted support of Acosta and accused the White House of making “fraudulent accusations.” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Sunday defended claims that parts of the video were sped up, stating in an interview with Fox News, “They do it all the time in sports.”
In an interview for “Axios on HBO” announced Sunday morning, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said House Democrats are planning to investigate whether Trump has abused White House power by targeting CNN and The Washington Post.