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Nikki Haley on SNL: A Satirical Stint Takes Aim at Trump and Campaign Gaffes

In a surprising turn of events, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley made a notable appearance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL), injecting humor into her campaign and taking aim at former President Donald Trump. The skit, which aired on Saturday, February 3, featured Haley participating in a mock CNN town hall for the upcoming Republican primary in her home state of South Carolina.

The SNL segment was set in Columbia, South Carolina, the location of the next nominating contest on February 24. Playing hosts Charles Barkley and Gayle King, Kenan Thompson and Punkie Johnson facilitated the faux town hall, with James Austin Johnson portraying Trump. Notably, the skit revolved around Trump’s refusal to debate Haley and raised questions about his mental fitness.

The comedy unfolded as Haley, introduced as a concerned South Carolina voter, questioned the stand-in Trump about his competence and mental state. Referencing Trump’s avoidance of debates throughout the campaign, Haley quipped, “Are you doing OK, Donald? You might need a mental competency test.” Trump, played by Johnson, asserted that he had aced cognitive tests in the past, boasting a perfect score.

The SNL writers cleverly weaved in recent campaign missteps by Haley, including a notable gaffe during a town hall in December where she failed to mention slavery as the main cause of the Civil War. The skit’s final question came from SNL host Ayo Edebiri, addressing Haley’s earlier lapse in historical understanding. Edebiri humorously asked, “What would you say was the main cause of the Civil War? Do you think it starts with an ‘S’ and ends with ‘lavery’?”

Haley responded, acknowledging her previous oversight, stating, “Yep, I probably should have said that the first time.” The SNL appearance allowed Haley to playfully address her own campaign misstep while simultaneously poking fun at Trump’s debate avoidance and mental fitness.

Following the SNL skit, Haley took to social media, posting on X (formerly Twitter), “Had a blast tonight on SNL! Know it was past Donald’s bedtime so looking forward to the stream of unhinged tweets in the a.m.”

The unexpected SNL cameo provided a platform for Haley to showcase a lighter side of her campaign and position herself as a younger, more capable alternative to both Trump and the Democratic frontrunner, President Joe Biden. As the Republican primary in South Carolina approaches, Haley’s SNL appearance adds a unique dimension to the evolving dynamics of the 2024 presidential race.