Brow Beat

Cecily Strong Skewers Trump Supporter Scottie Nell Hughes, but the Real Hughes Puts Her to Shame

Cecily Strong added another notch to her belt of crazy Saturday Night Live characters in the show’s cold open Saturday, playing Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes, who is completely impervious to reality. She’s interviewed by Kate McKinnon’s Kate Balduon—“I’ve got the brain for MSNBC but the hair for FOX News, so here I am at CNN”—whose professional frustrations are nothing compared to the stress of dealing with Hughes. Asked about Trump’s problems with women, Hughes starts with, “As a woman, I like Donald Trump, but as a full-blown nutjob, I freaking love him,” and things go downhill from there.

Strong’s clench-jawed wacko characters are always great, but Kate McKinnon’s slow burn is worth paying attention to, not just because it’s funny, but because the real world’s Scotty Nell Hughes—an actual Trump supporter—has that effect on people. The real Hughes took it all in stride, telling CNN she had a good sense of humor and tweeting that she was honored Strong played her:

And really, why wouldn’t she be happy? Looking at Hughes’s actual appearances on news shows, it becomes clear that, if anything, Strong soft-pedaled things. Here are a few of her recent hits, complete with anchors who can’t believe what they’re hearing. Let’s start with her implausible claim that Donald Trump’s straightforward statement that women should be punished for getting abortions had been “misconstrued.”

Here, asked how she can defend Trump’s retweet of a sexist insult to Heidi Cruz, she opts instead to claim that paying attention to the things Donald Trump says is unfair, ending with a stirring paean to feminist self-actualization:

Of all the news anchors befuddled by Hughes’ word salad, none was more at sea than Wolf Blitzer. Hughes opens with the implausible claim that her grandfather, who helped plan the 1968 Democratic Convention, would be proud she was a Trump supporter. She then draws this puzzling distinction:

It’s not because people aren’t getting their voices heard, it’s because the people’s voice would be ignored in this case.

Once she seems to be endorsing riots at the Republican National Convention, Blitzer tries to steer her back toward shore, but there’s no hope.  “It’s not riots as in a negative thing,” she begins, as the ship goes over the waterfall.

Finally, here’s Hughes trying to gloss over the fact that Trump can give a foreign policy speech any time he wants to, much to host Brianna Keiler’s dismay. Hughes then goes on to blame the candidates and the media media for “giving Saturday Night Live lots of material for their sketches.” But as of Saturday night, Scottie Nell Hughes is part of the problem.