SNL Finally Has a Truly Great Trump Impersonator

Apologies to Alec, but close your eyes and you’ll think this guy is the real deal.

Will HeathNBC/Getty

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

There are few things the United States needs more than another bad Donald Trump impression. The man is beyond parody to the point of making even decent satire fall flat. But lo and behold, SNL, after committing itself to Alec Baldwin in the Trump role, has found the man born to play our 45th president. 

Close your eyes and you’ll think new cast member James Austin Johnson is the real thing. He nails the preening self-regard, the incessant need for attention, and the way Trump wields “excuse me” almost as a verbal saber.  

It feels perverse to laugh at a grotesque, exaggeratory version of Trump, when the one we have is more than enough. Johnson’s skill is in reflecting Trump as he truly is—and, however unnecessary it may seem to have more Trump in our lives—that is almost a more fitting way to go about it. What’s the use of making the guy a literal cartoon when he does that so well himself?

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate