Saturday Night Live premiered its 43rd season over the weekend, and many of the jokes seemed to continue the best zingers of the previous season. Alec Baldwin again reprised his role as President Trump, while Colin Jost and Michael Che appeared behind their usual "Weekend Update" desk. Both Baldwin and the "Weekend Update" team mocked Trump's recent Puerto Rico comments in SNL's premiere, showing what little has changed over the late-night show's hiatus.
Trump has been criticized in recent days for his response to Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island territory of Puerto Rico about a week ago. For one thing, the president explained a delay in getting relief to Peurto Rico by saying, "It's out in the ocean. You can't just drive your trucks there from other states." While he's technically right about Puerto Rico's island location, the president also critcized San Juan's mayor over the weekend, accusing her of "poor leadership." In a tweet on Saturday, Trump said, "They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort."
It was these and similar comments from Trump that shaped much of SNL's season 42 debut on Saturday night. The show opened with Baldwin playing Trump on a phone call about Puerto Rico, saying, "Ma'am, I don't know if you know this, but you're in an island in the water."
"We want to help you, but we have to take care of America first," Baldwin continued. The woman on the other end of the phone — supposedly San Juan's mayor — quickly reminded him that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. As a territory, securing funding for the island to rebuild and pay off its mounting debt would begin with Trump asking Congress for the funding, according to Vox.
Back on SNL, the humor at Trump's expense didn't end with the show's cold open. During "Weekend Update," Jost called Trump's response to Hurricane Maria "terrible." He also highlighted Trump's comments about San Juan's leadership, saying, "This morning, he finally gave the people of Puerto Rico what they needed most: a bunch of tweets straight-up calling them lazy."
Jost also pointed out that musician Pitbull loaned out his private jet to fly victims of Hurricane Maria out of Puerto Rico. "If only Donald Trump knew someone with a private jet," he quipped.
Meanwhile, Che continued the criticism of Trump's Puerto Rico response, saying, "This isn't that complicated, man, it's hurricane relief. You just did this for white people twice."
SNL wasn't the only famous voice to criticize Trump's Puerto Rico response over the weekend. On Saturday, Kim Kardashian West responded to one of Trump's messages to the island terrority. Trump tweeted, "To the people of Puerto Rico: Do not believe the fake news!" Kardashian West poignantly responded, "They don't have power to watch the news!!" She also called on the president to "stop tweeting and golfing while people are dying."
The jokes and quips from the entertainment industry may seem funny, but the point they're getting at is 100 percent serious. Hurricane Maria devastated the small island territory of Puerto Rico with winds of up to 200 miles per hour. (For perspective, the rating for a Category 5 storm begins with winds of 157 miles per hour.) The storm killed at least 16 people, although The Miami Herald reported last week that some analysts expect that number to rise to the hundreds by the time the damage assesstment is done. While the Trump administration continues to send conflicting messages to the island, Americans can lend a hand themselves by donating to one of the many ongoing relief funds set up to assist Puerto Rico.