Former Saturday Night Live cast member Taran Killam is calling the show’s decision to allow Donald Trump to host “embarrassing and shameful.”
In a strikingly frank interview with NPR, Killam discussed his rocky final season on SNL, which included that infamous Trump episode. Admitting that “every person” who protested Trump’s appearance turned out to be “absolutely right,” the actor explained that the implications of his appearance were “not considered” and went so far as to say that giving the then-presidential candidate such a platform helped normalize him.
“It was rough,” Killam said. “It was not enjoyable at the time and something that only grows more embarrassing and shameful as time goes on.”
Donald Trump hosted the Nov. 7, 2015, episode of SNL, in the heat of Republican primary debate season. He appeared in only a few sketches, including one which played out like a fantasy of his presidency with America “made great again.” The episode was protested widely in the weeks leading up to its broadcast, with Latino groups particularly petitioning for Trump’s invitation to be rescinded.
Trump was invited to appear again on the show after he won the presidency, per his impersonator Alec Baldwin, but he declined.
Killam, who had also impersonated Trump on the show, has spoken out about Trump hosting repeatedly over the years. After the episode aired in 2015, he told EW, “Lorne’s philosophy is if someone’s willing to come and do the show, they’re a guest in our house and we should treat them as such, and I fully subscribe to that.” (He was still a cast member at the time.) But earlier this year, he changed his tune, revealing that Trump struggled at the table read and was “powered by bluster.” He added, “The president is a moron.”