Editor’s Note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM radio’s daily program “The Dean Obeidallah Show” and a columnist for The Daily Beast. Follow him @DeanObeidallah. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion articles on CNN.
President Trump has a love/hate (and then hate some more) relationship with “Saturday Night Live.” At one time, Trump seemed to be a fan of the show and even hosted it twice, including once as a presidential candidate in November 2015.
But that was then. As we all know by now, Trump is hostile to “SNL” and has lashed out at the NBC show numerous times. It started in October 2016 when he called for the show to be canceled for doing a “hit job” on him, and has continued unabated since.
Just two weeks ago he complained about a repeat episode of “SNL” for “knocking” him and suggested that the “Federal Election Commission and/or FCC” should look into it and other late-night comedy shows. (Someone really needs to tell Trump that whining is not winning.)
But this past Saturday night Trump might have fallen back in love – at least temporarily. “SNL’s” cold open was truly a comedic victory lap for Trump, played by Alec Baldwin, over the long-awaited findings of the Mueller report.
Don’t get me wrong – the show still mocked Trump, but the takeaway was that “Daddy won.” And, as you probably guessed, “Daddy” is Trump.
In addition to the now-classic Baldwin portrayal of Trump, the sketch opened with actor Robert DeNiro returning as Robert Mueller and Aidy Bryant as Trump’s Attorney General William Barr, who is depicted as determined to protect Trump at all costs.
DeNiro’s Mueller began by saying, “I am submitting these 380 pages.”
“I am writing almost four pages,” Bryant’s Barr countered.
“I am reading zero pages,” Baldwin’s Trump responded.
From there, though, the sketch didn’t depict Trump as colluding with Russia or being guilty of wrongdoing, as it has in the past.
Rather, this cold open was about Trump celebrating his win. DeNiro’s Mueller explained that he had not reached a “definite conclusion” on whether Trump had committed obstruction of justice, to which “Barr” responded, “But I have, and my conclusion is: Trump’s clean as a whistle.” Baldwin’s Trump declared “Free at last, free at last!” and then sounded an air horn in celebration.
And those expected redactions of the Mueller report? “In conclusion, it is my hope that this report will be made public, with a few redactions,” said DeNiro’s Mueller –causing “Barr” to counter, “Hella redactions.”
Baldwin’s Trump then added, “We’re going to black out everything except the words ‘no’ and ‘collusion,’” as he held up a piece of paper with all the words blacked out except those two.
In the end, the line that likely brought the real Trump joy is when Baldwin’s Trump gleefully exclaimed, “Russia, if you’re watching, go to bed,” adding, “Daddy won!”
In fact, Trump’s favorite channel, Fox News, even featured an article on its website that framed the sketch as great for Trump, with the headline “‘Daddy won,’ Alec Baldwin’s Trump boasts in first ‘SNL’ since end of Mueller probe.” When Fox News is praising a “SNL” sketch about Trump, you know that, despite themselves, the President and his back-scratching network are pretty happy.
Trump, however, should savor this “SNL” sketch and this moment.
For now, he has been cleared of collusion, according to Barr’s four-page letter that summarized the Mueller report. However, as we learned Friday, Barr has promised to release the nearly 400-page Mueller report, subject to redactions, by mid-April.
That could provide both great comedic material for “SNL” and substantive information for the rest of America on Trump and his inner circle’s possible dealings with Russians. It may also detail any evidence Mueller found of possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
And Trump’s potential criminal and legal woes are not over. As DeNiro’s Mueller stated near the end of the sketch, “P.S., can’t wait to see what the Southern District of New York has in store for Trump.”
Neither can the writers at “SNL,” nor can the American people.