Did Donald Trump Torpedo His Campaign With Terrible 'SNL' Performance?
Real estate mogul and 2016 Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live on Saturday, and his performance was everything you'd expect from the GOP candidate. While Trump was open to making fun of himself throughout the episode, it honestly just fell flat. Appearing on a comedy show could have helped Trump present himself as a relatable candidate, but instead, the episode focused on awkward jokes, like Trump's tendency to veer toward racist remarks. With his SNL gig, Trump might have just torpedoed his campaign — and for that matter, the episode hasn't gained SNL any new fans, either. Many people took to Twitter to express their disappointment with the episode's racism jokes, which didn't paint Trump or SNL in a great light.
Appearing on SNL might have helped Trump explain, through jokes, why he's actually a great candidate to be the next U.S. president. But instead, the episode focused on the reasons that a number media outlets didn't take Trump's campaign ambitions seriously in the first place. There was a joke about Trump's hair — a discussion point he hasn't been able to avoid since the days of The Apprentice — as well as his love for speaking his mind on Twitter, and, of course, his alleged racism. The sketches didn't highlight Trump as a relatable candidate; instead, they emphasized the idea that his candidacy is a punch line of its own.
During a sketch about a potential Trump presidency, for example, the show joked that Trump would convert the Spanish-language Telemundo network into an English-language network. The joke, which isn't really funny in the first place, is even more awkward when you consider the fact that Telemundo is owned by NBC, the same network that booted Trump's Miss U.S.A. pageant after his horrible comments about Mexican immigrants. It was a move that was lauded by many because in that moment, NBC stood with Latinos. So, jokes like that one don't make Trump's positions on the issues seem any more forgivable; if anything, they illustrate his weaknesses.
Similarly, an SNL sketch about Trump's propensity for live-tweeting events didn't exactly make him out to be a great presidential contender. The tweets Trump's character sent out, many of which criticized the SNL cast members, were "funny" because they resembled things Trump has actually said and tweeted about other celebrities and politicians in the past. That doesn't sound like someone who'd be a level-headed president during negotiations — it makes Trump seem like he'd lose his cool with other world leaders on a regular basis.
Trump's SNL hosting gig probably won't lose him any fans among the supporters he already has ahead of the 2016 election. If anything, SNL is to blame for Saturday's poor choice of jokes, not Trump himself. But it's doubtful the episode will gain Trump any new supporters, either — the episode reinforced the ideas many young people might already have about why Trump wouldn't be a great president.