James Austin Johnson Debuts His Spot-On Impression of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live
James Austin Johnson, who joined the cast this fall as a featured player, made his debut as the former President of the United States in the cold open of Saturday's episode featuring host Kieran Culkin.
Johnson's character was introduced midway through the sketch in which Cecily Strong reprised her role as Jeanine Pirro on the Judge Jeanine Pirro Justice Show! when Virginia governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, played by Alex Moffat, claimed he won the gubernatorial election without the help of Trump.
The comedian, 32, appeared nearly unrecognizable in Trump's black suit and red tie, his hair swept to the side and his American flag pin perfectly in place.
"I just wanted to congratulate Glenn Youngkin and mostly myself on our tremendous victory in Virginia. You know what Glenn? We did it together!" Johnson's Trump said to Moffat's Youngkin, who attempted to distance himself.
At one point, Moffat tried to be removed from the split-screen as Johnson's character discussed his love for "winning."
"Nope! Nope!" yelled Johnson. "Nope, we did this together, Glenn. We did this so good. I really want you to stay." Moffat stammered, "No, really. That's okay."
But Johnson pressed on, asking for "60 seconds on the clock" to discuss a variety of topics — including "doing Star Wars with swords" and comparing Dune's success to Youngkin's in Virginia — in a "Rundown" similar to those shown on Pirro's show.
"With Dune, I think you've got a lot of possibility with Dune," Johnson said. "I see a lot of possibility — two, three, four, 15 movies. And frankly, I see a lot of possibility with Virginia."
Johnson is the sixth person in SNL history to portray Trump, other than the man himself. Alec Baldwin famously played the role during the 2016 election cycle and throughout Trump's single term as president.
Darrell Hammond played Trump the longest out of all SNL impersonators after assuming the role in the late 1990s and intermittently again in 2016.