The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

SNL’s Trump gets spooked by Michael Flynn, and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future

It was another busy news week full of headlines about powerful men accused of sexual misconduct. But “Saturday Night Live” tackled that later in the show, and instead kicked off by making fun of President Trump with a Dickens-inspired sketch.

Alec Baldwin returned to play the president, who despite the tax bill’s Senate passage, has left the White House Christmas party early and is feeling down about the FBI probe. Baldwin’s Trump wants to instead think back on all the good he’s done over the year.

Soon, he’s spooked by a Michael Flynn character, who has just pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. He’s wearing heavy chains and appears as Jacob Marley in “A Christmas Carol,” or, as SNL’s Flynn says, “the ghost of witness flipped.”

“Mr. President, there’s a lot of people from your past that can come back to haunt you,” SNL’s Flynn warns. “Tonight you will be visited by three of them.”

"Saturday Night Live" addressed Michael Flynn's cooperation in the Russia probe and the new allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful men Dec. 2. (Video: Elyse Samuels/The Washington Post)

First up: Billy Bush, who represents Trump’s past. “I’m here to remind you of that ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, my man,” SNL’s Bush says. “Can you believe I got fired for just listening to you?”

Trump tries to reassure Bush that he’ll find work soon. “I hope so,” the Bush character says. “And frankly, I’m looking pretty good in the NBC News division” — a roundabout dig at Matt Lauer (the episode later featured overt jokes about the former “Today” show host ousted last week over sexual misconduct allegations).

How SNL and Tiffany Haddish went after sexual misconduct

Then came Trump’s present, in the form of a shirtless Russian President Vladimir Putin: “Donald, you can’t hide from me. I can see and hear everything you do.”

Baldwin’s Trump asks, “Because you’re a ghost?”

“Yes, I ghost.”

Baldwin’s Trump says he has a question he’s always wanted to ask Putin: “Do you think I’m cool?”

He responds: “I have to go.”

The parade of spirits is interrupted by a Melania Trump character, who implores her husband to return to the Christmas party and check out her decorations: “It’s a beautiful, festive hallway of dead branches and mysterious shadows.”

But the last spirit, SNL’s Flynn says, is “the scariest one” of all.

At first it appears as if it’s Steve Bannon (SNL portrays him simply as the Grim Reaper). But the black hood comes off, and it’s Hillary Clinton, played by Kate McKinnon, who made a quick costume change from earlier in the sketch when she portrayed presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway.

McKinnon’s Clinton tells Trump she’s overjoyed over his “slow demise.”

“You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to say this,” she concludes. “Lock him up!”

Read more:

SNL’s 10 best political sketches last season — and 5 more that have nothing to do with Trump

Trump isn’t the first president ‘Saturday Night Live’ has skewered. But this feud stands out.