Coming in eighth place behind contenders like Axl Rose, murder hornets, Elon Musk and Grimes’s newborn baby, and a 90 Day Fiancé cast member, President Donald Trump (played by Alec Baldwin) was chosen as the graduation speaker for Saint Mary Magdalene by the Expressway 2020 high school during the cold open of Saturday Night Live’s season 45 finale.
“Congratulations to the class of Covid-19. I’m so honored to be your validictator,” Baldwin’s Trump said. “There are so many exciting new jobs out there, like grocery store bouncer, cam girl, porch pirate, amateur nurse, and coal.”
The cold open sketch addressed the ways the nation’s new social distancing requirements have affected students graduating, and served as a scathing critique of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. With the show having been off the air for weeks, the sketch crammed in mention of the president’s bizarre suggestion to ingest disinfectants, the surging unemployment rate, and Trump’s recent, but recurring, claim that he’s the most mistreated president of all time.
While the real Trump plans to give an in-person commencement address at West Point, a number of other public figures, including former President Barack Obama, are scheduled to give digital graduation speeches as concerns over community spread have made traditional graduations impossible.
In the sketch’s address, Baldwin addressed his graduating class by saying, “Today’s not about me, it’s about you, although I should spend a little time on me first because I’ve been treated very poorly, even worse than they treated Lincoln.”
He added: “Lincoln would agree. He’s probably smiling up at me from hell right now.”
Self-aggrandizing out of the way, Baldwin’s Trump promises to end his remarks with some words of inspiration and encouragement. And to do that, he cites his own success story, referring to himself as “the son of a simple, wealthy slumlord” who didn’t have an easy time of getting to where he is now.
“Surround yourself with the worst people you can find so that way you’ll always shine,” Baldwin’s Trump said. “Reach for the stars because if you’re a star, they’ll let you do it.”
Baldwin then broke character and introduced the show, the finale for the 45th season of SNL. This final episode marked the third installment of SNL “at home” — a version of the show shot in cast members’ homes because of the shelter-in-place directives in New York City.