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 agency could go after the NBC late night comedy show.
A new report reveals, 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?’ to which they responded: ‘I’ll look into it.’ The person clarified they did not look into the matter.
Representatives for neither SNL nor Trump commented for the story.
In early 2019, Trump frequently tweeted complaints about SNL and actor 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 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.
Also, ‘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.