‘Scandal’ Will Feature a Donald Trump-Inspired Character

This week’s episode of “Scandal” will feature a character inspired by Donald Trump.

On Tuesday night, the “Scandal” team teased the upcoming life-imitating-art storyline, plus discussed Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to the ABC series’ set.

“There might be parallels coming,” Bellamy Young, who plays former First Lady Mellie Grant, said with a laugh on the show’s panel at PaleyFest at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, Calif.

“You think the debates you’ve seen in the real world are fun!” star Kerry Washington teased, adding that the episode following this week’s has even more Trump goodness.

The episode that will air this Thursday was screened tonight at PaleyFest in front of a large audience, including this Variety reporter, who was asked not to reveal the actor portraying the larger-than-life presidential hopeful — but it is a character who has been seen on the show before.

Asked by moderator “Good Morning America’s” Lara Spencer how the current political climate has influenced the “Scandal” writers this season, Rhimes admitted that she’s changed some storylines, after seeing the real-life debates. “We did have some moments where I would run back to the writers room and I would say, ‘Hey there’s some dialogue that we need to cross out because it kind of already happened.'”

Later on in the panel conversation, Rhimes made it clear that while parallels are unavoidable, she’s not hugely inspired by the current race. “I will be honest and say I am more influenced by Hamilton right now than the election,” she said, referring to the hit Broadway musical, garnering laughter from the theater. “The election right now, it’s its own thing. You can’t make that stuff up.”

Last week, new “Scandal” recurring actor Ricardo Chavira spoke to Variety, slamming the Trump “bandwagon,” and speaking about how the current politics of America has an influence on his character on the show.

However, one real-life politician did make her way into the “Scandal” team’s hearts. Hillary Clinton recently visited the set and last week, Rhimes, Washington, “Grey’s Anatomy’s” Ellen Pompeo and “How To Get Away with Murder’s” Viola Davis appeared in a Clinton campaign, which aired during ABC’s “TGIT” lineup.

Tony Goldwyn, who directed that campaign, said that the entire project came together in just a matter of days. “It was just a bunch of people who were not afraid to speak their mind about something they were passionate about and put their reputations out there,” he said. “The whole energy behind it was just very authentic and real and just honest.”

Washington shared that she shot her scenes separately from Pompeo, Davis and Rhimes, “We actually didn’t get to work together that much because we all came in at different times because we’re all busy working moms, but even in the emails back and forth about it, we were making this decision as individuals. This wasn’t some order from above,” she said. “This was each of us making this decision to do it together. It felt really decision to make that decision as a group.”

On the red carpet, before the panel, the “Scandal” cast spoke to Variety more about Clinton’s visit, Trump’s state in the race — and what to expect with “Trump’s” storyline on the show. Watch video:

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