President Donald Trump has chalked up a notch in the win column with the recent announcement that Alec Baldwin will not be continuing with his role playing the president on “Saturday Night Live.”
Last week’s announcement by Baldwin further exemplifies how Trump is winning his war against comedy as he continues to demean those who poke fun at him. Baldwin said that he was leaving the show because he wanted to spend more time with his family. He also said that one reason for walking away from the wildly popular role is because he does not have enough invested in the role.
It is hard to not wonder if Baldwin had finally had enough with Trump’s attacks. Anyone who follows Trump on Twitter knows that he has not been kind to Baldwin over the years. In fact, he has been downright vengeful in some of his words.
It was all fun and games when Baldwin first began impersonating Trump on SNL. In December 2016, Trump joked that Baldwin’s performance was unwatchable. Baldwin’s response was simply, “Release your tax returns and I’ll stop. Ha.” However, the back and forth banter took a turn more serious in the coming months. Most recently, Trump called for retribution against SNL for mocking him. Baldwin’s response on Twitter openly questioned whether Trump was threatening the safety of his family.
Whether or not Trump’s constant attacks on Baldwin led to the decision to leave the show is unknown. But it is clear that Trump is succeeding in winning his war against comedy and those who mock him. This year’s White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) annual dinner broke from tradition by featuring historian Ron Chernow rather than the traditional comedic roast of the president. This move came after Trump boycotted the dinner and called on the WHCA to stop the tradition of a presidential roast.
While it is difficult to ascertain how much effect Trump’s bullying has had on these decisions, it is clear that his influence is great. Which is exactly what the thin-skinned president wanted. Silencing comedy and those who criticize him is just another way that Trump is trying to mitigate the power and responsibility of the media in holding him accountable for his actions and words.