Alec Baldwin defended impersonating President Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” following criticism over him mocking the commander-in-chief amid his coronavirus battle.
In an Instagram video posted Sunday, the Emmy-winner said NBC and the show’s producers “don’t want to sink the ship” and never would have gone ahead with the sketch had Trump been “truly, gravely ill.”
“If there was ever the suggestion that Trump was truly, gravely ill… really in trouble, then I would bet you everything I have that we wouldn’t even get near that in terms of the content of the show,” Baldwin said.
The actor, 61, reprised his role as the president during the show’s Season 46 premiere on Saturday, in a cold open lampooning the raucous first debate between Trump and Joe Biden, who was played by Jim Carrey.
“Did you take the COVID test you promised to take in advance?” asked the actor playing debate moderator Chris Wallace.
“Absolutely, scout’s honor,” said Baldwin’s Trump, his fingers crossed. “The China virus is a hoax – and that will probably come back to haunt me later this week.”
The sketch — which aired a day after Trump revealed that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 — drew outrage from some who said Baldwin was mocking the infected president.
But the “30 Rock” star dismissed “the perception that we’re mocking him while he’s sick.”
“We only have the words of the White House itself and the people who work there themselves to go on, and all of them have been saying that he is not in any danger,” Baldwin said
“If their word had been that he was in serious trouble… I can assure you we wouldn’t have done it.”
Jokes about the president’s diagnosis also appeared later in the episode, with host Chris Rock quipping that, “President Trump is in the hospital due to COVID, and my heart goes out to COVID.”