Hammond was one of SNL’s greatest impressionists during his 14-year run with the show, pulling off more than 100 characters, from the lip-biting Bill Clinton to the foul-mouthed Sean Connery. But his Trump was so good, SNL kept him in that role even after he left the cast in 2009. He made his final Trump appearance in 2016. (Taran Killam also briefly held the role.) Then Trump’s candidacy took off, and SNL boss Lorne Michaels decided he wanted a more visceral approach. He tapped Baldwin, a Trump hater whose cartoonish portrayal of the reality-TV star president would go on to earn him an Emmy.
.. For Hammond, the shift was crushing, which he detailed when he spoke to The Post last year. Hammond, who remains SNL’s announcer, says he’s now at peace with keeping his Trump in the past. He had moved to Los Angeles to get away from the constant questions, taping his intros remotely. Now he’s back in New York and has been a regular presence around Studio 8H.
.. Hammond’s relationship with Trump is different from Baldwin’s. He tries to remain decidedly apolitical. There were times, long before the White House, when he visited with Trump in his office, studying his movements and speech patterns. He even had Ivanka Trump’s phone number on his cellphone, only deleting it after he lost the part. Last year, Jim Downey, the legendary former SNL writer, called Hammond’s Trump impression “the gold standard.”
But Michaels, speaking to The Post last year, said that he wasn’t looking for accuracy as Trump’s candidacy began to build.