Robert De Niro returned to Saturday Night Live to open the show in his recurring role as special counsel Robert Mueller on December 8, and this time around he closed in further on the president’s inner circle by paying a little visit to Eric Trump at Trump Tower.
Viewers will recall De Niro putting on his best Mueller impression during an appearance in which he confronted Kate McKinnon’s caricature of Jeff Sessions just as the ex-attorney general was packing up to clear the office for replacement Matthew Whitaker. As Deadline notes, that episode included appearances by Aidy Bryant as Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Beck Bennett as Mike Pence, and Mikey Day and Alex Moffat as brothers Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric. In addition to Moffat reprising his Eric impersonation, Day was back in form as Trump, Jr. in the latest airing. But as was the case the last time De Niro swung through, it would only wind up being Mueller and his latest person of interest by the end of the sketch.
“Hi Eric. Don’t be scared. It’s just me, Robert Mueller, your dad’s friend from work,” The Hill quotes De Niro’s Mueller as opening up his dialogue with Eric by stating. Prior to the legendary actor taking the stage, Moffat had been working up the shallow, dimwitted characteristics of Eric Trump’s persona that satirists often play off of. He was frightened in is bed by a lingering suspicion that something was in his closet, after Day sat beside his bed to read him a story in the embodiment of big brother Don. The worry prompted Don to come to his feet and open the closet up to show his younger brother that there was nobody inside, but sure enough, there was De Niro, looking eerily similar to the special counsel.
Soon after Day brought his Trump, Jr. act with him off of the camera, and Eric got over the hair-raising experience of turning around to find Mueller within a foot of him, he settled into a dialogue with the Russia probe prosecutor. The Mueller character mostly spoke over the Eric character’s head, making passing references to how much trouble his president-father is about to be in. It went on that way back and forth, with the younger of the two confusing Mueller’s mention of Manafort with “Mr. Pillowfort,” and mistaking George Papadopoulos for “Mr. Papa John’s Pizza.” But they eventually got around to some real talk.
The scene culminated when Eric posed that, “People say you’re the worst thing to happen to my dad,” to which De Niro’s Mueller replied: “No, Eric. Getting elected president was the worst thing that ever happened to your dad.”