There's never been a leader of this country who's paid more attention to Saturday Night Live'sjabs and barbs than Donald Trump, as evidenced by his tweets after Alec Baldwin first stepped into the Creamsicle-colored cotton candy wig earlier this year. But as audiences grow accustomed to Baldwin's searing portrayal of 45, SNL'swriters have found the perfect way to troll Trump to his rigid-about-gender-roles core -- feminize the men he surrounds himself with by enlisting women to portray them.
Trump, who's tweeted about SNL and Baldwin's portrayal of him several times (his most recent SNL tweet was just a few days before his inauguration), has been uncharacteristically silent since comic genius Melissa McCarthy played White House press secretary Sean Spicer on the February 4 episode. While Spicer addressed the portrayal, keeping it fairly light and suggested that McCarthy used far too much gum (he's a notorious gum-chewer), Trump remained silent about the SNL episode, in which host Kristen Stewart skewered his obsession with her ex-boyfriend Robert Pattinson in her opening monologue.
Reportedly, the notion of having a woman play any of the men in Trump's life caused fear and rumblings in the White House. McCarthy's portrayal of Spicer does not bode for well for the man whose job it is to spin Trump's proclamations into fact for the press, Politico notes.
"Trump doesn't like his people to look weak," an insider told Politico, which also alleged that McCarthy's caricature could prove damaging to Spicer's future in the White House -- all of which seems perfectly plausible since Trump clings to traditional gender roles. Just last week #DressLikeAWoman trended on Twitter and Instagram for days in the wake of a report from Axios that asserted Trump requires the men who work for him to be "sharply dressed" and for women to, well, "dress like women," whatever that means in Trump's world.
This week SNL doubled and tripled down on placing women in male roles to troll the Trump administration. Not only did McCarthy brilliantly reprise her role as "Spicey" Spicer for the cold open, Kate McKinnon stepped in as newly minted controversial Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Beyond McCarthy stepping into Spicer drag for the second time, SNL took it further, purposely tossing in stereotypical ways to feminize her portrayal. At one point, disguised as a QVC style attempt to hawk Ivanka Trump's fledgling clothing and accessory line, McCarthy's Spicer lifted a suit sleeve to reveal an Ivanka Trump bangle beneath it, calling it "beautiful, elegant, shimmering."
And if that weren't enough to offend the sensibilities of a man who once told a female reporter at the Miss Universe pageant, "The look obviously matters. Like, you wouldn't have your job if you weren't beautiful," McCarthy lifted her leg from behind the podium to reveal a high that her Spicer had been wearing high heels from Ivanka Trump's shoe line the entire time.
But there's more. McCarthy, who, in her first appearance as Spicer, aggressively employed a box of props to help get his points across, including using a stuffed moose and a stuffed lamb to spell out "moose/lamb" (Muslim) to the SNL press corps, took it further in the latest sketch pulling out a box of "dollies" (not poseable figures, which they were) to illustrate how the immigration ban is implemented at airports.
Before the words, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night," were uttered this week, McCarthy skewered Spicer's masculinity, not merely by dressing in drag but also by sporting traditional women's accessories underneath, and then she played with toys stereotypically reserved for girls. Meanwhile, the show's lesbian cast member (McKinnon) played Sessions, a man notorious for actions against the rights of women, people of color, and LGBT people.
Still, the cherry on top of SNL's poking at Trump's gender-role sensitivities arrived later in the episode when Leslie Jones, a woman of color, starred in a digital short in which she hoped to portray Trump once Baldwin steps away from the role.
"I never dreamed that I could play the president, but then Melissa played Spicer and I was like, 'Why can't I play Trump?'" Jones thoughtfully queries in the sketch.
As Jones sits in full Trump drag, bushy light eyebrows and a swirl of tangerine-tinted hair carefully placed on her head, her castmates attempt to make sense of her decision to audition for the role of Trump, throwing in a dash of SNL self-reflexivity in the process.
"Is this like a sendup on his fragile masculinity?" asks Melissa Villasenor, while Sasheer Zamata ponders, "Is it like a Hamilton thing where you're making a comment on race and politics?"
It remains to be seen if longtime Trump nemesis Rosie O'Donnell will replace the grim reaper as Trump's voice of nonreason, Steve Bannon, as she's campaigned to do on Twitter (she went so far as to replace her profile picture with one of her face Photoshopped onto Bannon's body). But SNL is truly on to something, having discovered a way to torment Trump by adding layers of feminine traits to the toxic masculinity he so admires.
Watch the cold open here.
Watch Jones stump to play Trump.