Donald Trump’s appearance as host of Saturday Night Live generated big ratings, but did it help his pursuit of the presidency? If you believe his top priority must be to convince the public that he’s serious about the world’s biggest job, the answer is that SNL probably hurt more than it helped.
On NBC, he looked more comfortable delivering carefully-scripted lines with hip comedians on a studio set than he does in unscripted debates with his fellow candidates, highlighting his decades-long background with Broadway and Hollywood. That’s not the preparation that normally would reassure uncertain conservatives.
Meanwhile, his funniest skit on SNL showed the Trump White House in 2018, with all the nation’s foreign and domestic problems suddenly solved. When asked how he did it, “President Trump” shrugs and says it was magic, inexplicable. It doesn’t help a candidate’s credibility when a TV vision of his presidency is treated as a joke.