Alec Baldwin returned to “Saturday Night Live” this weekend in his first post-election appearance, portraying President-elect Donald Trump as he grapples with his transition from candidate into head of state.
The cold open didn’t feature a bombastic Trump, but one slowly coming to terms with the reality of what the presidency entails. Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, played by Kate McKinnon, increasingly grows nauseated as she ushers in person after person to meet with the new president.
After Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tells Trump how excited he is to hear about the “secret” plan to defeat the Islamic State, Trump turns to his laptop. “Okay, right, here we go. Here we go. Big plan. Big plan. Google, ‘What is ISIS?'” Trump says. “Oh my — 59 million results.”
He then picks up his phone: “Siri, how do I kill ISIS?” Turns out he was talking into a Blackberry.
The episode drew instant criticism from real-life Trump on Twitter, a day after he demanded an apology from the cast of “Hamilton,” who had recited a short message to audience member Vice President-Elect Mike Pence.
Baldwin responded on Twitter to the complaints, writing, “Equal time? Election is over. There is no more equal time.” He also wrote that now as Trump tries to be president, people respond and “that’s pretty much it.”
The actor continued, tweeting about what he would do as president: “I’d be focused on improving our reputation abroad, including actually fighting for freedom and not just oil.”
It’s unclear whether Baldwin will continue portraying Trump for the remainder of the season; a representative for the show declined to comment.
Trump hosted SNL a year ago this month, in an episode that brought huge ratings, controversy and bad reviews. A year later, the show has drawn his ire.
In October, he referred to an episode as a “hit job on me. Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal sinks. Media rigging election!”
SNL treated Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton last week with a somber tribute to Clinton by a teary-eyed McKinnon that featured no jokes at all.
In this weekend’s cold open, an out-of-work Virginian tells Trump that if he can build a $25 billion, 2,000-mile wall on the Mexican border, he can bring back every single job that’s been lost in recent years. Trump then says, “$25 billion? It can’t be that much — Oh God, oh God, don’t worry, Donald. It’ll be okay. Hillary is still ahead in the polls.”
Mitt Romney, played by Jason Sudeikis, even shows up for an extended, awkward handshake. Romney, once a fierce critic of Trump, met with the Trump transition team earlier this week.
Later in the sketch, Pence shows up and says that “Hamilton” was good. “I got a free lecture.” He then runs through all the upcoming agenda items and the roadblocks to getting them done: repealing Obamacare; identifying and deporting 11 million illegal immigrants; hiring a special prosecutor to go after Clinton.
“Scrap it. Scraaaaped,” Trump responds to the plans.
“Sir, being president is not going to be easy,” Pence says. “But we’ll get through it if we work hard, together.”
“Thank you, Mike,” Trump responds. “You’re going to do everything, right?”
[This post has been updated.]