Alec Baldwin said he would not have impersonated Donald Trump on the Saturday Night Live Season 46 premiere if it had been suggested that the U.S. president was gravely ill from COVID-19.
The cold open to the NBC late-night comedy series featured a "rebroadcast" of Trump's debate against Joe Biden, and it included a subtle joke about the president's future as a coronavirus patient. Baldwin reprised his Emmy-winning role as Trump, while Jim Carrey appeared as Biden.
But some viewers thought the sketch was in bad form given the real-life president's hospitalization for the potentially deadly virus.
In a rambling new video posted to Instagram on Sunday, Baldwin explained why he felt it was okay to portray – and poke fun at -- Trump while he is sick.
Baldwin told his 1.8 million social media followers that producers made the decision to move forward with the sketch based on communications by the White House and Trump's medical team that indicated he wasn't in great danger.
"If there was ever the suggestion that Trump was truly, gravely ill… then I would bet you everything I have that we wouldn't even get near that, in terms of content of the show," Baldwin said. "If their word was that he was in serious trouble, then we probably wouldn't have done it."
Baldwin, who has played the role dozens of times over the past four years, pointed out that SNL writers kept his cameo to the lampoon of the debate and didn't show him sick or in a hospital bed. He noted that the bit did not mock Trump's illness.Baldwin's video received more than 206,000 views within hours of posting as well as thousands of comments.
While a few commenters questioned why Baldwin dislikes the man he regularly spoofs, others thought the SNL opener was funny and even appropriate given all the controversy surrounding last week's presidential debate.
"Enjoyed the sketch. And I'm a Trump supporter. Don't understand why some people's feelings are so fragile," one follower wrote.
"Comedy and satire are vital to our free speech," another added.
Others thanked the actor for the laughs during this trying time in America and all across the world.
Baldwin began playing Trump during the latter part of the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, per Emmys.com. He won his third Primetime Emmy for the role in 2018.
As previously shared by The Inquisitr, producers for Saturday Night Live were put into a panic at the last minute when Trump's coronavirus diagnosis was made public one day before the live show last week.