SNL Mocks Donald Trump's East Palestine Visit With Rambling Cold Open

Saturday Night Live mocked Donald Trump's visit to East Palestine, Ohio, during the cold open.

The latest episode, hosted by Woody Harrelson, opened with James Austin Johnson as Trump addressing the town's residents this week following the derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals on February 3.

"It's wonderful to be here in the town of East Palestine—not a great name," Johnson's Trump said.

"But I had to come here and see these wonderful people who have been abandoned by Biden. He's on Spring Break in Ukraine with his friend Zelensky in the T-shirt, very disrespectful. Zelensky things he's rocking that ringer tee like Scott Pilgrim. But I'm here and I brought hats. Cameras and hats because it's terrible what's happening here."

He said a farmer he met on his visit had said to him: "Sir, we have nothing to eat because our dirt is poisoned."

"And I said, well, what are you doing eating the dirt? Don't eat the dirt, folks. Don't eat the dirt. You should be eating the cold McDonald's I brought you. And the bottled water, Trump Ice. I'll be honest, I just put my sticker on some Dasani.

The former president, who is mounting a third White House bid, went to a McDonald's in East Palestine to buy food for first responders and residents during his visit on Wednesday.

He also brought multiple pallets of Trump-branded water to distribute to residents concerned about the safety of drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that local public water supplies are safe, but authorities have warned those with private wells to drink bottled water as testing continues.

Trump also spoke at a firehouse about half a mile from the crash site, during which he criticized the federal response and seized on Biden's decision to make a surprise visit to Ukraine.

During his remarks, he went off on a tangent about his role in getting Big Ten football started during the COVID pandemic.

Former President Donald Trump stands
Former President Donald Trump stands next to a pallet of water before delivering remarks at the East Palestine Fire Department station on February 22, 2023 in East Palestine, Ohio. Saturday Night Live has mocked his visit. Michael Swensen/Getty Images

In SNL's parody, Johnson's Trump rambled about Rihanna's Super Bowl halftime show, before placing blame on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for the derailment.

"Your train exploded and who do we blame?" he said. "We blame Buttigieg. Pete Buttigieg. This was his responsibility. Unfortunately he was too busy being a nerd and being gay... I have to tell you, I call him Pete Butt."

Johnson's Trump concluded his remarks by saying he was "gonna get out of here soon 'cause the air is full of poison."

But "some of the husbands are happy to have the stinky gas as an excuse," he added.

"Did you pass gas? No, it was the train," he said. "You'd normally blame it on the dog but they're all dead now, aren't they?"

Buttigieg visited East Palestine on Thursday, where he said he is "proud" of his department's response to the derailment.

He also said he believes the community is "pretty frustrated with people trying to take political advantage of this situation."

"My focus is that our freight rail system gets better," he said. "And anyone who wants to take political advantage of this, I'm calling them to the table."