9:01pm PT by Lauren Huff
'Saturday Night Live' Opts for Opening Bit on Trump Instead of Harvey Weinstein
Alec Baldwin returned once again as Donald Trump to open Saturday Night Live, this time to take on several of the president's critics of the week.
Heading into Saturday night, many expected the NBC sketch show to open with its take on the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal that has engulfed Hollywood and the media since Oct. 5. The show, however, opted for a skewering of Trump's tax reform speech in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, instead.
To start the show, Baldwin as Trump walked out thanking the people of "Harass-burg" during a rally where he spoke about Mike Pence leaving an NFL game in his home state of Indiana last Sunday over player protests and said his tickets would be donated to two lucky fans in Puerto Rico. "They will just have to fly themselves to Indiana, because at some point they will have to start doing things themselves," said the Trump character. He called Pence (played by Beck Bennett) throughout the rally, instructing him to leave an Indiana Pacers game after a player took a knee, a Starbucks because the cups didn't say “Merry Christmas” and a same-sex wedding.
Later, during the "Weekend Update" segment, Michael Che took on Trump's call for people to say, "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays," which the president mentioned during a speech earlier this week, claiming that people would begin saying "Merry Christmas" once more.
"Dude, people say 'Merry Christmas' all the time. My deli guy is Muslim and he says, 'Merry Christmas' every time he makes me a ham sandwich," Che said. "You know what? I don't want to say 'Merry Christmas' anymore, because I don't like that Trump supporters always want us to be specific when it's about stuff that's important to them. It can't be, 'Happy Holidays.' It's got to be, 'Merry Christmas.' It can't be, 'Save the Planet.' It's got to be, 'America First.' But then when somebody wants to stand up for blacks or gay people or women, they're like, 'Wait a minute, what about everybody else?' So don't think of it as me saying, 'Happy Holidays' anymore. Think of it as me saying, 'All Holidays Matter.'"
President Trump had lashed out at hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico on Thursday, insisting in tweets that the federal government can't keep sending help "forever" and suggesting the U.S. territory was to blame for its financial struggles. The island has been reeling since Hurricane Maria struck three weeks ago, leaving death and destruction in an unparalleled humanitarian crisis. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, with whom Trump has had a running war of words, tweeted that the president's comments were "unbecoming" to a commander-in-chief and "seem more to come from a 'Hater in Chief.'"
Baldwin as Trump also took on Rex Tillerson. In a Forbes magazine interview published Tuesday, Trump once again called the "moron" story — which claimed Tillerson had referred to the president as such in July — "fake news." But he said that if the allegation was true, then he and Tillerson should compare IQ scores, suggesting that he would have the higher score.
On SNL, Baldwin as Trump said, "What a dumb dumb dumb-aroonie. Talk about the pot calling the kettle Mexican. I have a huge IQ. I took an IQ test and it came back positive, very positive."
During his rant, Baldwin as Trump even commented on Eminem and his "bet" network rap, telling him to "watch his back," referring to a moment during the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards when Eminem performed an explosive freestyle against the president, calling him a "racist grandpa" and asking fans to "decide who you like more" — him or Trump.
Trump was criticized in the media for lashing out at the aforementioned targets during a series of Twitter posts throughout the week. "A kind of Trump Threat Deflation is setting in," read an opinion piece in The Washington Post titled, "Thrashing around in a rage, Trump unleashes a new volley of threats."
Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) hosted the episode, which featured Pink as musical guest.
Watch the cold open below.