Every Actor To Play Donald Trump On SNL (Including James Austin Johnson)

Donald Trump has been a frequent punchline on Saturday Night Live since the 1980s, and several famous actors have stepped up to offer their own impersonations of the ex-president. From Phil Hartman to James Austin Johnson, each actor has brought something unique to the role. Here is a complete list of actors who have portrayed Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live.

Saturday Night Live is now on season 47, and the show isn't holding any punches when it comes to political commentary—and no political figure has given the skit show more material than Donald Trump himself. While SNL has featured political skits before, the show really rose to political relevancy during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, frequently riffing on presidential debates and parodying presidential candidates. Some, including Donald Trump himself, have criticized the show's political musing, but Saturday Night Live shows no signs of moving away from its political skits.

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Donald Trump has been a frequent Saturday Night Live feature since 1988. Starting as a millionaire real estate mogul, Trump has gone through multiple public personas throughout his years in the limelight, and as Trump has entered new phases in his life, SNL has introduced new impersonators to capture the essence of the man. From Phil Hartman's smug opulence to Alec Baldwin's zany antics, there is a Trump sketch—and actor—for everyone.

Phil Hartman was the first to portray Donald Trump for Saturday Night Live. Hartman joined the cast for season 12 in 1986 as a cast member, where he would remain until 1994. Between 1988 and 1990, Hartman portrayed Trump in five different sketches, mainly focusing on his relationships with his then-wife, Ivana Trump, and later Marla Maples, his second-wife-to-be (both portrayed by Jan Hooks). At the time, Trump was best known for being a wealthy real estate mogul, managing casinos and various other properties across the country. The Trump the country knew during Hartman's reign is nearly unrecognizable now, though Hartman does a great job of replicating his voice, his appearance, and his mannerisms.

One of Hartman's best sketches on Saturday Night Live as Trump was the very first, A Trump Christmas, where Donald and Ivana become characters in a parody of the short story The Gift of the Magi, with Donald selling his yacht to buy Ivana a set of diamond-encrusted cathedral doors for Mar-A-Lago, and Ivana selling Mar-A-Lago to buy Donald a golden anchor for his yacht. During Hartman's time portraying Trump, Saturday Night Live poked fun at Trump for some of the same reasons it does today; his greed, his misogyny, his questionable business practices, and more. Donald Trump isn't the only president Hartman has portrayed, as he has also impersonated Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, his best-known impression.

It would be another nine years before Donald Trump returned as a character on Saturday Night LiveThe role was reprised by Darrell Hammond in 1999, who would become the show's longest-running Trump impersonator. Hammond played the role regularly until 2009, but reprised it in 2011 and again in 2015. Hammond received rave reviews for his performances as The Donald—especially during his 2015 run, where he portrayed Trump during his candidacy for President. He was able to impersonate Trump's mannerisms and voice almost perfectly, easily becoming one of the greatest Trump impersonators in Saturday Night Live history.

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Hammond's parodies of Trump focused on his television show, The Apprentice, and political aspirations. His first 1999 skit even predicted Trump's eventual run at the presidency. While Donald Trump wasn't fond of Saturday Night Live's portrayal of him, Trump praised Darrell Hammond's performance when the then-Presidential candidate hosted Saturday Night Live in 2015, and was out-performed by Hammond. After the death of Don Pardo in 2014, Hammond took over as the announcer for Saturday Night Live; a role which he still holds today.

Jason Sudeikis, comedian and star of Ted Lasso, only appeared as Donald Trump once on Saturday Night Live in 2012. The skit, which was a parody of Fox & Friends, focused on Barack Obama's handling of Hurricane Sandy and Trump's obsession with catching the President in a lie. While Sudeikis did a decent job impersonating Trump's physicality, his voice was ultimately lacking in comparison to other Trump impersonators who appeared on the show. While Sudeikis' Trump impersonation wasn't the best out there, Sudeikis has had an impressive career on Saturday Night Live. Since 2003, he has served as a sketch author, a featured performer, a repertory cast member, and a host.

Saturday Night Live had a field day covering the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, and to cover a whirlwind of an election, SNL needed a strong actor behind Donald Trump. Taran Killam won against several other cast members in a 2015 audition for the role, where he was chosen to portray Donald Trump for the duration of the election. Killam appeared multiple times on the show alongside Cecily Strong, who impersonated Trump's wife, Melania, in skits featuring "messages" from the married couple, trying to assure voters that Donald did not hate women and immigrants. During his brief time impersonating Trump, Killam did an incredible job replicating The Donald's voice, though he resembled the then-Presidential candidate less than other impersonators who have played the role.

After Darrell Hammond stepped in to play Donald Trump in one episode to fill out the roster of a GOP debate, Killam was moved to the role of Ted Cruz for the duration of the episode, and shortly after Killam was replaced by Hammond permanently. Since his time portraying Trump on Saturday Night LiveKillam has expressed his regrets about the role and working alongside Donald Trump when he hosted SNL, explaining that normalizing Trump's campaign has grown more shameful over time. Killam was let go from Saturday Night Live in 2016 after six years on the show.

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Alec Baldwin is one of the best-known Trump impersonators on Saturday Night Live. Baldwin's appearance as Trump was unexpectedly announced in September 2016, leaving Darrell Hammond shaken by his sudden replacement. Showrunners claimed that Donald Trump was evolving as a candidate, and they needed a new impersonator to embody the new Trump—and that's where Baldwin came in. Alec Baldwin has portrayed multiple real-life figures, though his performance as Trump has quickly become one of his most well-known. Baldwin's Trump is known for being more off-the-wall than previous interpretations of the ex-President; he donned the dramatic orange face color, perfectly mirrored Trump's voice, and frequently battled it out with Kate McKinnon on screen, who plays the role of Hillary Clinton for Saturday Night Live. 

During his time as Trump, Baldwin parodied both his campaign and his run as President, creating skits from Presidential debates and meetings with political figures and foreign leaders. Baldwin carried the role of Donald Trump until 2020, when he expressed his excitement to be done with the role after Trump lost the 2020 Presidential election. With Baldwin being politically outspoken against Donald Trump, the ex-President held particular ire for Baldwin's portrayal of him, frequently referring to it as distasteful, biased, and not funny. It's rumored that the then-President attempted to get the Justice Department or the FCC to force Saturday Night Live to stop portraying him on the show, though Donald Trump vehemently denies these claims.

James Austin Johnson is the latest to take on the role of Donald Trump. Starting on Saturday Night Live season 47, Johnson's performance of Donald Trump has received rave reviews. Though Johnson has only portrayed Donald Trump twice so far, it's already clear that he has what it takes to be a great Trump impersonator. Johnson's vocal impression of Trump is one of the best the show has ever featured and had even gone viral on social media long before his appearance on Saturday Night Live. So far, Johnson has starred alongside Cecily Strong, Pete Davidson, Alex Moffat, and other Saturday Night Live cast members in parodies of the Fox News show Justice with Judge Jeanine, ripping on topics such as Joe Biden's infrastructure bill, Virginia's gubernatorial election, and Chris Pratt's role as Mario.

Next: Why Damon Wayans Was Fired From SNL During His First Season



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