Between the Syrian missile launch, Neil Gorsuch's Supreme court nomination, and the Trump administration's first move to defund the United Nations, it was a really stressful news week. Thankfully, the sketch show everyone has come to rely on for smart political comedy was back to help the country through it. Alec Baldwin was back as Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live this week, and the cold open was the perfect comic relief that the nation needed.
The first sketch of the night featured Baldwin as Trump attending a town hall in Middle America. Cast members Aidy Bryant, Mikey Day, and Beck Bennett took turns pointing out just a few of the problems with Trump's proposed federal budget. While increasing spending for the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, Trump's budget would pretty drastically cut funding for programs such as federal opioid rehab programs, healthcare, and after school programs for kids. The sketch featured the cast highlighting these problems while Baldwin, with his eerily reminiscent Trump impersonation, talked about how tremendous his cuts would be. Baldwin was psyched to "chunk" all the programs that he didn't want to, basically meaning the ones that would never be relevant to his own life.
Although the sketch ended up being hilarious, it's important to note that the premise of it may be entirely inaccurate. Drafting the federal budget is of the president's most important responsibilities, but it may ultimately have no impact on how much financial support federal programs and departments get. Congress controls the government's purse strings, so even though Trump can make suggestions about where to allocate federal funds, the House and Senate appropriations. Given how much tension there is between Trump and Congress right now, they may approve a very different version of the budget than the one Trump proposed.
Whether or not Trump's budget gets approved, SNL's sketch did recognize that a lot of Americans are scared about the future of the social programs that touch their lives. Millions of people across the country rely on government programs in big and small ways, from Meals on Wheels to the exhibits at children's museums that are funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Every American is going to be affected by this budget if it passes, and it's relieving to have the anxiety the country is collectively experiencing refracted back at you through the lens of humor. Keep doin' you, SNL.