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Trump denies trying to shut down Saturday Night Live, then calls show an illegal campaign contribution

·2 min read
Trump denies trying to shut down Saturday Night Live, then calls show an illegal campaign contribution
Probably not Donald Trump (SNL)
Probably not Donald Trump (SNL)

Donald Trump has issued a tersely-worded denial that he used his office to try and take Saturday Night Live off the air in revenge for mocking him.

His statement, which was part denial, part performance review of Alec Baldwin, came in response to a story in The Daily Beast claiming Mr Trump told his lawyers to lean on the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission in the hopes they could probe or mitigate SNL and other late-night satirists and comedians like Jimmy Kimmel.

“The story that I asked the Department of Justice to go after ratings-challenged (without Trump!) Saturday Night Live, and other late-night Losers, is total Fake News,” Mr Trump said in the statement.

“It was fabricated, there were no sources, and yet the Lamestream Media goes with it. I did say, however, that Alex Baldwin has no talent, certainly when it comes to imitating me.”

The Daily Beast quoted “two people familiar with the matter” as claiming Trump asked his advisers and lawyers in early 2019 what the federal government could do to enforce “equal-time” rules, which don’t apply to satire or comedy shows.

“It was more annoying than alarming, to be honest with you,” one source said.

The second source said Mr Trump was disappointed to hear the DOJ or FCC had no legal recourse and asked if “something else can be done about it?”

With the source saying they never actually “looked into it”, both the story and Mr Trump’s denial that he leaned on the DOJ or FCC could be technically accurate given the Beast’s report says he asked his lawyers, not the department specifically.

In any case, Mr Trump made clear he believes Alex Baldwin is by far the worst Trump impersonator.

“The one who had what it took was Darrell Hammond,” Mr Trump continued. “With all that being said, however, I do believe that the 100% one-sided shows should be considered an illegal campaign contribution form the Democrat Party.”

It wasn’t the first time the ex-president lashed out at the sketch show or floated the idea of using federal government resources to silence it.

He tweeted in March 2019 that the show should be looked into by the FCC or the Federal Elections Commission, which would have jurisdiction over the so-called illegal campaign contribution.

“It’s truly incredible that shows like Saturday Night Live, not funny/no talent, can spend all of their time knocking the same person (me), over & over, without so much of a mention of ‘the other side,’” Mr Trump tweeted.

“Like an advertisement without consequences. Same with Late Night Shows. Should Federal Election Commission and/or FCC look into this?”

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