After U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 29, many people on social media began to suggest that actor Alec Baldwin take his place instead.
I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017
Baldwin’s impression of Trump on Saturday Night Live has been very popular — even before the election — and now many people, including some celebrities, are calling for Baldwin to attend the dinner in the absence of Trump.
U.S. presidents usually attend the dinner, which typically includes the discussion of political journalism as well as some lighthearted joking about the press and the president.
Trump will be the first president to skip the dinner since Ronald Reagan in 1981, who missed it because he was recovering from an assassination attempt.
But even then Reagan was still able to deliver remarks to the event via telephone.
Reagan skipped the WHCD because he was recovering from being shot. Trump will skip the dinner because he's recovering from Alec Baldwin.
— Randi Mayem Singer (@rmayemsinger) February 26, 2017
Actor and director Zach Braff was one of the first to raise the idea.
— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) February 25, 2017
Many others joined in, calling on Baldwin to take his impression to the dinner.
Oh pleeeeeez Alec Baldwin go as trump at Correspondents Dinner!!!!
— Diane Warren (@Diane_Warren) February 25, 2017
Dear White House Correspondents Association: Please ask Alec Baldwin to stand in for Donald Trump at your annual dinner. Thank you.
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) February 26, 2017
Retweet if you want Alec Baldwin to fill in for Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents' Dinner on April 29th. pic.twitter.com/Lybv3PhixH
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) February 26, 2017
.@realDonaldTrump I hope they replace you with Alec Baldwin.
— Dan Wilbur (@DanWilbur) February 25, 2017
— April (@ReignOfApril) February 25, 2017
Alec Baldwin (appearing as Trump) at the Correspondents Dinner would ALMOST make this devastating admin worthwhile (for one press cycle). https://t.co/LHJYnSP48g
— molly martin (@shivers333) February 27, 2017
Braff’s suggestion inspired a Change.org petition to ask Baldwin to attend the dinner in his Trump character.
The petition’s page reads, “Donald Trump is a snowflake. He cannot handle the Truth and facts. He continues to slander unfavourable coverage of his policies and statements as ‘fake news’ delivered by a ‘lying, dishonest press.’ He has decided to withdraw from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner because his delicate Conservative Cupcake feelings have been hurt.”
More than 1,000 people have signed in less than 22 hours.
Baldwin has played many different versions of Trump on SNL.
At the beginning of October, Baldwin debuted his Trump character while he played up all the memorable moments from the first debate between former Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton and Trump.
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Baldwin has his Trump impersonation down to a science, and explained his approach to the New York Times.
“I see a guy who seems to pause and dig for the more precise and better language he wants to use, and never finds it,” Baldwin said in an interview. “It’s the same dish — it’s a grilled-cheese sandwich rhetorically over and over again.”
Trump spoke out about Baldwin’s recurring role on Twitter.
Just tried watching Saturday Night Live – unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse. Sad
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2016
Release your tax returns and I'll stop.
— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) December 4, 2016
Baldwin replied to the tweet saying he would agree to stop playing the character if Trump released his tax returns. Trump refused.
In an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show, Trump went off on many SNL skits depicting him, even attacking Baldwin.
Trump called the comedy show “terrible,” and Baldwin’s impersonations “mean-spirited” and “biased.”
The White House Correspondents’ Association has not reacted to the push for Baldwin to attend the dinner.
Baldwin has not yet responded to the requests.