The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Trump highlights importance of national emergency by ... commenting on ‘SNL’

‘Saturday Night Live’ re-created President Trump’s national emergency declaration in the show’s cold open on Feb. 16. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

We know a few things about President Trump’s past few days: On Friday, he announced his national emergency at the White House. That afternoon, he flew to Florida for a weekend at Mar-a-Lago. According to White House pool reports, Trump arrived Saturday at Trump International Golf Club at about 8:40 a.m. and left just before 3 p.m.

Sometime on Saturday night, it appears, he took in some media:

On the comedic merits of last night’s edition of “Saturday Night Live,” we’ll side with the president. Alec Baldwin’s cold open of Trump’s Friday appearance at the White House suffered from the much-discussed pitfall of Trump satire: It’s hard to make fun of a fellow who does that all by his lonesome. Watch the original on C-SPAN instead of the SNL version (below). Tragicomic always beats comic.

Credit SNL for sufficiently rankling the president to the point that he tweeted about a comedy show in his leisure time, an apt way of reflecting the urgency of this particular national emergency.

As for Trump’s tweeted attack on the media, those are, of course, nothing new and something disturbing — still, after all these years. Though Trump has never been one for precision in language, his reference to “retribution” comes straight out of Dictatorship 101. Definition: “punishment inflicted on someone as vengeance for a wrong or criminal act.”

Follow Erik Wemple's opinionsFollow

That’s not all: There was a time when Trump insisted that his use of the term “enemy of the people” to describe media outlets was somehow an act of discipline. See these tweets from last fall:

With his Sunday morning whine that “THE RIGGED AND CORRUPT MEDIA IS THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” Trump appears to be bailing on this fine point. The Erik Wemple Blog draws no conclusions from all of this. We don’t believe, necessarily, that the walls are closing in; we don’t believe, necessarily, that it shows that the president is more unhinged than ever; we don’t believe he is more isolated than ever. It could be merely that it’s just another dreadful day in the life of Trump.

Read more:

The Post’s View: Proof that Trump is lying about ‘fake news,’ from Trump himself

Greg Sargent: In remarkable exchange, Trump offers startling view of role of free press

Dana Milbank: Trump’s ‘fake news’ mantra becomes an effective weapon — against America

Erik Wemple: Man in MAGA hat attacks journalist at El Paso rally