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SNL’s Cold Open Mocks Senate Impeachment Trial
Saturday Night Live was ready for yesterday’s big news: the acquittal of former president Trump. The impeachment trial that’s dominated the papers this week wrapped up Saturday evening when the Senate voted to acquit the former president in a 57-43 vote. Seven Republicans joined Democrats in voting to convict Trump of inciting the capitol riots, but the Senate still fell short of capturing the 2/3rds majority necessary to impeach the president.
After a delayed trial (thanks Sen. McConnell!) and a drawn-out week of hearings, the vote happened fast and lacked surprises. By 6 p.m., Trump was a free man. That didn’t leave the SNL writers much time to prepare the cold open, but they worked quickly and pulled it off. (It’s almost as if we knew Republicans were going to acquit the former Floridian-cult-leader-in chief the whole time…)
The sketch opened with “human white claw” and Fox News host Tucker Carlson interviewing Sens. Lindsay Graham and Ted Cruz, played by pals Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant, about the acquittal. Discussing why he voted to acquit, McKinnon’s Graham said, “Trump didn’t attempt a coup. He is coo. He’s the coo-est guy I know.” The sketch also commented on the week’s second biggest headline: Ted Cruz’s hair.
Halfway through the sketch, cast members Mikey Day and Pete Davidson popped up as Trump’s lawyers. Day played the clueless Bruce Castor while Davidson took on the role of Michael van der Veen whose pronunciation of Philly-del-phia went viral on social media during the trial. Sen. McConnell, played by Beck Bennett, had the last word. “Everyone knows you cannot impeach a former president,” said Bennett’s McConnell. “That’s why we should’ve impeached him before back when I said we couldn’t.”
Abigail Covington is a journalist and cultural critic based in Brooklyn, New York but originally from North Carolina, whose work has appeared in Slate, The Nation, Oxford American, and Pitchfork
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