Saturday’s cold open featured a mock episode of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, in which Alex Moffat’s Cooper addressed the ongoing gun violence prevention debate in the wake of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 on Feb. 14.
“In times like this we look to our leaders for guidance,” the character said. “But instead, we’ll hear from Donald Trump.”
Baldwin’s Trump, flanked by Beck Bennett’s Vice President Mike Pence and Cecily Strong’s Sen. Dianne Feinstein, read a message to the shooting survivors straight from a note.
“We have to take a hard look at mental health — which I have so much of,” he declared. “I have one of the healthiest mentals. My mentals are so high.”
Faux-Trump continued by proposing they take firearms away from everyone, “even whites,” to the excitement of Feinstein but chagrin of Pence. Trump comfortingly placed his hand on Pence’s, only causing him to cringe more.
“He’s worried this is a gateway touch,” explained the president.
Baldwin’s character then declared he would run into a school shooting unarmed and end it on his own, mocking a comment the real Trump said on Monday.
“If I have to make America’s schools safe all by myself, I will. Just like how I’m running the White House all by myself,” he said in reference to this week’s resignation of communications director Hope Hicks.
“I said I was going to run this country like a business; that business is a Waffle House at 2 a.m.,” said Baldwin’s Trump. “Crazies everywhere, staff walking out in the middle of their shift, managers taking money out of the cash register to pay off the Russian mob.”
Baldwin’s president then declared that America was in the top five nations in the world, but “we could do better.”
“They’re all beating us. China, Japan, Wakanda,” he said, referring to the fictional setting of Black Panther. “They’re laughing at us in Wakanda. They have flying cars in Wakanda.”
Kate McKinnon then popped up with her Jeff Sessions impression to remind the president that he has no intentions of leaving.
The real Trump exchanged jabs with Baldwin via Twitter on Friday, but a typo referring to the actor as “Alex” Baldwin caused an innocent web designer with the name to find “a couple hundred” notifications on his phone.
Although Trump deleted and reposted the tweet with the right name — plus a correction of “dieing” to “dying” — Alex told PEOPLE that the tweets kept coming, though many appeared to be from bots.
“They don’t make any sense and you can tell they’ve just been stuffed with keywords and are programmed to generate from whatever tweet is trending at the moment,” Alex said.
“The whole thing is kind of ironic because I’m a web designer and I’ve actually made a number of bots — only mine post cute animal photos to Instagram or tweet the current score whenever the Golden State Warriors are playing,” he continued. “So it’s funny getting the other end of it.”