SNL tells it like it is on Trump (opinion)

The season kickoff of “Saturday Night Live” has reminded us yet again of why Donald Trump hates the show so much he once called for it to be canceled. In fact, it was “SNL” that underscored two of the most powerful arguments for why it’s the Trump presidency — not the show that satirizes him — that should be canceled this November.



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© ‘Saturday Night Live’/NBC


Host Chris Rock opened his monologue with a joke about Trump’s hospitalization for Covid-19: “I just want to say, ‘My heart goes out to Covid,'” said Rock. But it was the show’s cold open that made a comedic plea to bring the Trump show to an end come Election Day. And they are 100% correct.

The sketch was a parody of Tuesday’s presidential debate — which itself felt like an “SNL” sketch given the real Trump’s conduct. In this one, though, Alec Baldwin was back as Trump and Jim Carrey made his debut as Joe Biden. The 13-minute sketch featured everything from Maya Rudolph, playing Kamala Harris, dubbing herself a “HVPIC: Hot Vice President in Charge,” to pop sensation Harry Styles making a cameo as he offered mediation advice to Biden.

However, the message embedded in the comedy came near the end of the sketch. After Baldwin’s Trump — simply mimicking the real Trump’s conduct — interrupted Carrey’s Biden for the umpteenth time, “Biden” held up a remote control and pressed pause, freezing Baldwin in mid-sentence — triggering applause from the studio audience. “SNL’s” Biden then looked into the camera and told America, “Isn’t that satisfying? Just not to hear his voice for a single goddamn second?” adding, “Let’s bask in the Trumplessness.”

Seriously, think about the prospects of “Trumplessness” in the White House for a moment. With Trump, it’s not just policy — it feels like his presidency has taken years off my life! I’m betting that for many Americans — even those who aren’t political — going back to “no drama” days of past presidents who don’t incessantly tweet inflammatory comments is appealing.

Back to the sketch. “Biden,” while still addressing America, made another point that raised an even more important reason for why Trump must lose in November: the need for a president who believes in and respects science during a deadly pandemic.

Carrey’s Biden declared, “Look at me. Look directly into my eyeballs. You can trust me because I believe in science and karma.” He then playfully added, “Now, just imagine if science and karma could somehow team up and send us all a message about how dangerous this virus can be,” as he looked at Baldwin. “Biden” continued, “I’m not saying I want it to happen. Just imagine if it did.”

All jokes aside, Trump has repeatedly rejected the call of health experts to wear masks and mandate mask wearing at his rallies — and worse, he has misled Americans on this very issue. For example, at Tuesday’s debate, Trump repeated his mockery of Biden for keeping his face covered in public, this time saying, “I don’t wear a mask like (Biden). Every time you see him, he’s got a mask.” When Biden responded that health officials have declared that wearing masks could save lives, Trump falsely stated that some health experts have actually said “the opposite.”

The pandemic is growing alarmingly worse for the United States since Trump announced last month that the nation was “rounding the final turn” of the coronavirus pandemic. When Trump made this comment on September 10, the seven-day average of new daily Covid-19 cases was more than 35,000. By October 3, the seven-day average of new daily cases had increased to more than 43,000 — with the previous day clocking in at 53,000 new cases.

Even more concerning is that experts at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine recently projected that the nation’s death toll will reach more than 371,500 by January 1. They also predict a bone-chilling 3,000 Covid-19 deaths per day by the end of year — quadruple the 708 deaths recorded Saturday.

Tragically, our nation appears to be heading into darker and deadlier times with this virus. Will the fact that Trump contracted Covid-19 cause him to reverse course and encourage his supporters to embrace the advice of health officials on wearing masks and maintaining social distancing? Or will he do the opposite if he makes a quick recovery, telling the nation that the virus cannot be that dangerous if a 74-year-old like him can beat it? The hope is Trump recovers from this virus and uses his experience to encourage all Americans to do the right thing. But if history is a guide, Trump will do whatever he believes helps him politically.

As “SNL’s” Biden told us, we need a president who will reduce the drama and increase the science. I can’t think of two better reasons for bringing the Trump show to an end this Election Day.



Dean Obeidallah wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera


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Dean Obeidallah

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