President Donald Trump declined an invitation to return to “Saturday Night Live” this season, according to Alec Baldwin.
In an appearance Wednesday on Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show, Baldwin, who impersonates Trump on the NBC late-night series, said that Trump was asked to appear on the Feb. 11 episode that Baldwin hosted.
“When we did the show, when I hosted ‘SNL’ this season, we asked him to come,” Baldwin told DeGeneres. “We invited him to come, we were so hopeful he would come, but he didn’t show up.”
NBC declined to comment about Baldwin’s claim.
When Trump hosted the show as a presidential candidate in 2015, “Saturday Night Live” drew 9.3 million total viewers, according to Nielsen, delivering what was at the time the most watched episode of the show since 2013. The show was roundly criticized for allowing Trump a wealth of free air time in the middle of the presidential campaign. His appearance was also the subject of protests by Latino organizations over Trump’s campaign comments referring to Mexican immigrants as “rapists and murderers.”
In her column on the Trump-hosted episode, Variety chief TV critic critic Maureen Ryan wrote, “It’s pretty standard for a host to read most of his lines off cue cards, as Trump did stiffly in all his scenes, but when the rest of the cast appears ill at ease and many of the jokes fail to land, the sketches can seem interminable. And when the funniest joke in a particular sketch has Trump thanking the president of Mexico for turning Telemundo into an English-language network, something has gone awry.”