James Austin Johnson portrayed Donald Trump last night, kicking off Saturday Night Live. He took a jab at Joe Biden for visiting the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier this week and had a visit from his own legal troubles.
“Oh, it’s wonderful to be here in the town of East Palestine, not a great name,” said the James Austin Johnson. He added: “I’m here and I brought hats, cameras and hats.”
“That’s why you need me,” the MAGA hat-wearing SNL Trump went on to say. “I feel like I could Schitt’s Creek this place,” he added, a reference to the multi-Emmy-winning comedy.
Just over three days after the former and looking to be future POTUS made a self-aggrandizing trip to the small Ohio town savaged by a massive chemical burn-off that followed a train derailment, last night’s SNL cold open definitely started out timelier than most the show has had this 48th season. Having done double duty for months as both Trump and Biden, Johnson again enthusiastically showed the former is his strong suit.
Modelling what was a train wreck of an appearance by the real-life Trump in East Palestine on Wednesday, Johnson riffed on the “beautiful rainbows and discoloration” of the town’s water, Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show and “your train exploded and who do we blame?”
The answer from SNL’s Trump, as in real life, was Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
“This was his responsibility. Unfortunately, he was too busy being a nerd and being gay,” Johnson’s Trump deadpanned to big laughs. “But this would have never happened under my administration. People are saying I made the trains less safe. Not true. Okay, not true. I did a lot for trains. I made them bigger, faster, less safe perhaps.”