Earlier this week Baldwin took a short break from defending Woody Allen to complain about the great burden of portraying Trump for six minutes on live television every three weeks. “Every time I do it now, it’s like agony. Agony. I can’t,” Baldwin told The Hollywood Reporter, before delivering a prayer that Trump loses in 2020. Trump, who has made no secret of the fact that he hates Baldwin’s depiction of him, pounced.
Trump is wrong about many things. He’s wrong about big things (immigration, economics, foreign policy) and little things (fashion, food, basic spelling and grammar). But he isn’t all that wrong here.
Baldwin deserves some credit for advancing a more menacing depiction of Trump, but his take is still slap-dash and perfunctory. He sleepwalks through all of the now familiar Trump tics, without offering much in the way of jokes, let alone insight. Anthony Atamanuik, who does a much better Trump, grasped Trump’s thuggishness and insecurity long before Baldwin did, and Baldwin has paid tribute to Atamanuik’s superior impression by insecurely badmouthing the less successful comedian and actor on late night TV. Also, Baldwin gets the voice wrong.
What’s really amazing is that Baldwin is whining about portraying Trump even as he’s spent the last two years cashing in on his Trump portrayal. To give you a small sense of the discrepancy between Baldwin’s actual contribution to our understanding of Trump and the financial windfall he has reaped, Baldwin and Kurt Anderson’s forgettable You Can’t Spell America Without Me had a significantly larger initial print run than Michael Wolff’s mammoth bestseller Fire and Fury.