Alec Baldwin doesn’t quite seem to know how to feel about Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech.
Speaking to Katie Couric for her bi-weekly podcast on Wednesday morning, as Donald Trump was delivering his bizarre press conference, Baldwin began by saying that calling his It’s Complicated co-star “overrated” was exactly the wrong approach for the president-elect and suggested he hire some PR people to straighten him out on that front.
On the other hand, Baldwin, who will almost certainly return as President-elect Trump on Saturday Night Live this week, said, “We’re at a point now where that kind of thing where somebody in the arts or performers, whether they’re actors or musicians or what-have-you, that piggyback that kind of statement onto an event, we’ve seen a lot of that and I think that people are maybe kind of bored with that. It’s kind of predictable for them.”
Because he’s “completely in love with her” and had a “great time” working with her, Baldwin said he was willing to give Streep a “pass,” especially since he said he thinks she was “speaking as a woman and women are deeply hurt by what’s happened and what he said and how he sounds like he treats women and views women.”
At that point, Couric interrupted Baldwin to say that she felt Streep’s speech was more about how Trump treats the “less powerful,” given that she chose as her prime example the time Trump mocked Serge Kovaleski, a physically-disabled New York Times reporter, at one of his rallies. Streep spoke about “outsiders” and “foreigners,” how “disrespect invites disrespect” and “violence incites violence,” but did not bring up gender once.
“I agree that in her content she’s covering a broader spectrum, but I think what drives her is her being a woman,” Baldwin explained, adding that “what she said was very smart, it was very effective.”
Then Baldwin said something even more surprising coming from a man who has spent the past several months parodying Donald Trump on SNL. “There’s people in this country that want to take a deep breath, right after the inauguration, we have to accept where we are,” he said. “And the task at hand for people who are political opponents of Trump’s — whining about Trump and lampooning Trump and our hand over our mouth, aghast, ‘Oh my God, Trump’s the president!’ — we’ve got to get over that now.”
As Couric accurately pointed out, Baldwin was not only contradicting himself as Trump’s chief lampooner, but also going against comments he made just a few minutes earlier in the interview about his own process of coming to terms with the reality of President Trump.
When it came to past Republican presidents who he was not “fond of,” including Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, Baldwin said it took a couple of weeks for their critics to realize they weren’t “malicious” and move on with their lives.
“Now we have a guy, who’s the president of the United States who’s a malicious person,” he said of Trump. “He’s a malicious person, and I don’t think that people are going to settle in. The way he behaves and the way people react to him, this is going to be this way for the next four years. It’s not going to subside at all.”
When Couric called out this contradiction, Baldwin said, “I think it is both things at the same time. I think the task is to move on and to use this energy on the identification and the selection of someone to run against him. We need to find someone who’s going to win.” He also predicted that the press is going to “keep giving it” to Trump right to the end of his presidency, whenever that may be.
So, at once, Baldwin is calling on those who opposed Trump to “move on” from the “whining” and “lampooning” and saying those efforts will be essentially impossible. And as long as he continues to portray Trump in a humorous manner through satire on SNL, it seems hardly fair to heap any criticism on, if not Streep, then other performers like her, for speaking out against the soon-to-be-president.
Before Baldwin had any inkling that Trump would actually win the election, he said he “hoped” he wouldn’t have to play him anymore, echoing comments he made on the last SNL before Election Day about how “gross” it was to embody such a hate-filled man night after night.
But now that Trump is going to be president, he has changed his attitude, saying in another recent interview that he plans to keep doing SNL “as much as” he can moving forward. "And there's discussions about other venues we might pursue to further express our gratitude and admiration for the Trump administration,” Baldwin said, ironically, hinting that he could take his now-iconic impression outside of SNL’s confines.
Remarking that parodying a man who is already a self-parody doesn’t actually take much effort, Baldwin added, "We're just gonna sit back and just let the good times roll.”
Donald Trump may be easy to make fun of, but President Trump is never going to be easy to accept. And as the reaction to Meryl Streep’s speech proved, no one is ready to “move on.”