Donald Trump was spotted leaving Trump Tower in New York City on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after denying a report that he was so frustrated with the way Saturday Night Live mocked him and his presidency that he asked if the Justice Department or other government agency could investigate the show.
The former president called the report in The Daily Beast ‘fake news.’
The 75-year-old was pictured leaving his Manhattan residence in a suit and tie, laden with Louis Vuitton luggage and Gucci shopping bags.
For the past 14 years, Gucci has leased 48,667 feet at the base of Trump Tower, making it the building’s biggest commercial tenant. In 2020 Gucci renegotiated a reduced rent and agreed to extend its lease beyond 2026.
Donald Trump on Tuesday was seen leaving Trump Tower in the rain, believed to be heading back to his Bedminster golf course where he now lives
A member of Trump’s Secret Service detail keeps an eye as the former president leaves Trump Tower. All former presidents and their spouses are entitled to Secret Service protection for the remainder of their lives. Their children are protected, post-presidency, until the age of 16. Trump negotiated an unusual extension for his adult children, providing them with Secret Service details for their first six months of life outside the White House
The former president was protected by a Trump Organization umbrella
Trump is based in New Jersey, but frequently travels back to New York City for meetings at Trump Tower, the headquarters of the Trump Organization. He is resuming control of the family business, which for the past four years was run by his sons Donald Trump Jr and Eric
Trump is spending the summer at his Bedminster golf course in New Jersey, having relocated from Florida for the summer.
The move was in part to escape the swampy Florida heat – Mar-a-Lago, where he lives, closes during the summer and the Palm Beach area empties as the wealthy second homeowners leave.
It was also designed to allow him closer oversight of the Trump Organization, headquartered in Trump Tower, and the subject of two criminal investigations – one from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, and the other from the New York Attorney General, Letitia James.
Trump’s relocation also puts him in closer proximity to New York’s powerbrokers as he mulls a 2024 presidential run.
Suit carriers and Louis Vuitton luggage were seen being taken from Trump Tower before the former president’s departure
Trump’s luggage included a Gucci carrier bag. The Italian fashion house has been Trump Tower’s longest-serving tenant, and in 2020 renegotiated their lease until at least 2026 – a valuable win for the Trumps, who have seen Nike and Tiffany abandon their stores in Trump Tower during his presidency
Aides to the former president kept watch as the luggage was unloaded
The former president left Trump Tower alone. There has been no sighting of his wife Melania or son Barron at the Manhattan residence. The family is registered for tax purposes in Florida, so would be limited as to how much time they can spend in New York
An aide was seen overseeing the preparations for Trump’s departure from the building
On Tuesday Trump was once more hitting back against critical news stories – labelling as entirely false a report that he was enraged by SNL.
‘The story that I asked the Department of Justice to go after ratings-challenged (without Trump!) Saturday Night Live, and other late-night Losers, is total Fake News.
‘It was fabricated, there were no sources, and yet the Lamestream Media goes with it,’ Trump said in a statement.
He did get in a shot at actor Alec Baldwin, who portrayed him on the show.
‘I did say, however, that Alec Baldwin has no talent, certainly when it comes to imitating me. The one who had what it took was Darrell Hammond,’ he added.
Trump also repeated his argument that satire programs – such as the late night comedy shows – should be considered political contributions.
‘With all of that being said, however, I do believe that the 100% one-sided shows should be considered an illegal campaign contribution from the Democrat Party, hard to believe I got 75 million votes (the most of any sitting President) despite all of that, together with a very Fraudulent Election.
‘2024 or before!,’ he concluded.
The Daily Beast report claimed, that in early 2019, the then-president asked his advisers for options after watching an SNL episode that made fun of him.
Two people familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast that Trump asked advisers and lawyers about what the Federal Communications Commission, the courts systems, or the Department of Justice could do to investigate SNL, Jimmy Kimmel, and other late-night comedians.
‘It was more annoying than alarming, to be honest with you,’ one of these sources told the news outlet.
The other source said they told Trump the Justice Department doesn’t handle these matters.
The person told Daily Beast that Trump inquired: ‘Can something else be done about it?’
They responded: ‘I’ll look into it.’
The person clarified they did not look into the matter.
In early 2019, Trump frequently tweeted complaints about SNL and Alec Baldwin, who portrayed him on the NBC satire.
‘Nothing funny about tired Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC!’ Trump tweeted in February 2019.
‘Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion!’
Donald Trump, when he occupied the White House, was so frustrated with the way Saturday Night Live mocked him and his presidency that he asked if the Justice Department or other government agencies could go after the show
In early 2019, Trump frequently tweeted complaints about SNL and actor Alec Baldwin (above), who portrayed him on the NBC satire
Trump continued his complaints the next month. And it was during that time, according to the Daily Beast report, he asked aides what could be done about the show.
‘It’s truly incredible that shows like Saturday Night Live, not funny/no talent, can spend all of their time knocking the same person (me), over & over, without so much of a mention of ‘the other side.’ Like an advertisement without consequences. Same with Late Night Shows,’ he wrote on Twitter in March of 2019.
And he added: ‘Should Federal Election Commission and/or FCC look into this? There must be Collusion with the Democrats and, of course, Russia! Such one sided media coverage, most of it Fake News. Hard to believe I won and am winning. Approval Rating 52%, 93% with Republicans. Sorry! #MAGA’
The late night sketch-comedy show was in repeats at the time but it didn’t dampen Trump’s anger.
That episode featured a parody of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ with Trump shown imagining his life if he had never been elected president.
The program long used Trump as a punching bag with Baldwin lampooning him as a fumbling, incompetent commander in chief.
But presidents, no matter their party, are often mocked by the show – as are other prominent political figures, such as Hillary Clinton.
At the time Trump questioned whether the Federal Election Commission or Federal Communications Commission should investigate.
The FEC examines improper campaign contributions while the FCC originated the fairness doctrine – a regulation that requires the news give equal time to both sides.
However the doctrine was discontinued in 1987 and is no longer on the books.
Additionally, when it was used by the FCC as a method of distributing television and radio licenses, it was found not to apply to elected officials.
Furthermore, Saturday Night Live is a comedy show and its satire is protected free speech.
In the days since he left the White House, reports have revealed how Trump sought to use the Justice Department as a way to punish his political enemies.
Democrats long accused Trump of politicizing the Justice Department and using it as a weapon against those who disagreed with him.
Emails released earlier this month by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee showed how Trump and his allies attempted to pressure the DoJ to investigate unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Trump’s Justice Department also subpoenaed Apple for data from at least two Democrats who served on the House Intelligence Committee, as well as aides and their family members.
It also subpoenaed data from CNN and New York Times reporters, trying to uncover their sources.
Additionally, Trump had his Justice Department go after Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former aide to Melania Trump, for writing a book about the then-first lady.
The DoJ tried to seize profits from books written by Winston Wolkoff and by former Trump adviser John Bolton.
The attempts were dropped when Joe Biden became president.