Once again, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was controversial on television. However, this time, it was actually a part of the plan.
Trump was the host of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” for the second time in the show’s history this weekend. The first time, in 2004, he was the resident anchor of the NBC show “Celebrity Apprentice.” Now, as a controversial hopeful for the 2016 presidential election and with previously-severed ties from NBC, I find it odd he was a welcomed host of the 90-minute sketch show.
As a host of “SNL,” it’s expected Trump would have a good sense of humor and could handle being the butt of a joke. That he did, in his awkward Trump fashion. Poking fun at himself began in the monologue and slid uncomfortably through the rest of the program. Recapping old controversies, like the Rosie O’Donnell name-calling fiasco in 2006, was just a small part of it.
Throughout his campaign, he’s been said to have no filter when it comes to public speaking. An article from the Wall Street Journal after Trump announced his presidency stated, “He seemed to utter whatever thoughts popped into his uniquely coiffed head.” Since that time, voters have either loved or hated the characteristic. So, perpetuating the trend of filter-less-ness, it makes complete sense if Trump would agree to host “SNL” — a show historically known for hilariously pushing boundaries.
However, where I get confused is how NBC miraculously forgave the star for his behavior they used as leverage to kick him off “Celebrity Apprentice” and deny programming of his beauty pageants, Miss America and Miss Universe.
In June, NBC cut business ties with host Donald Trump after his comments about Mexican immigrants. This is referring to Trump’s comment about his belief that a large portion of immigrants are criminals. Following a petition sent to the network, NBC cut ties with Trump to respect the opinions of viewers — until his appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” in September.
With Fallon’s ratings through the roof that night, I can only assume the network thought it a brilliant idea to have Trump host “SNL” this season to spike ratings again. It’s a win-win situation for the two of them — a symbiotic relationship focused around seeking attention.
But this is exactly where they both fail in the eyes of the public.
While achieving the goal of being one of the most aggressive mudslinging candidates, Trump must have failed to realize painting a piss-poor picture of himself in the eye of the country he’s trying to lead might not be the best way to secure trust. Often, the point of “SNL” is to make a mockery of the host. Trump did so swimmingly, but it’s certainly not a way to increase interest in his proposed foreign and domestic policies or national fiscal plans.
No, Trump is not the first presidential candidate to host “SNL.” But, as an article from Fortune stated Saturday, “The precedent for a presidential candidate actually hosting ‘SNL’ is extremely small and mostly limited to candidates who trailed heavily in the polls before ultimately ducking out of the race without their party’s nomination.”
Lastly, the trust the network earned from its viewers should be shattered after their complete lack of consideration for the petition. While I don’t believe “SNL” will lose many loyal viewers over the incident, I do think it’s a seedy way to conduct business.
Integrity was put low on the priority list this season, it seems.
Rebecca Flannery is a senior journalism major from Melissa. She is the Arts and Life Editor for the Lariat.