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Idaho Sen. Jim Risch spoofed on ‘Saturday Night Live’ over endorsing Trump for president

Live from New York … it’s U.S. Sen. Jim Risch.

Idaho’s three-term Republican senator was parodied in the opening skit of “Saturday Night Live” this past weekend for his endorsement of former President Donald Trump as the Republican nominee in the 2024 election. Risch was played by cast member Mikey Day, who is known for his recurring impression of President Joe Biden.

In the scene, Risch is seated alone with a martini at a table in a crowded Washington, D.C., restaurant after Trump’s 20-point victory over Republican challenger Nikki Haley in Saturday’s South Carolina primary. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, quickly pulls up a seat and the two discuss Trump’s control of the Republican Party on his potential path back into the White House.

“I’ve got to admit, though, sometimes I do not know what my party is doing,” Risch quips. “The man doesn’t care about this country one iota. Sometimes I think he’s downright dangerous.”

But Risch also endorsed Trump, Rubio inquires.

“Yeah, big time!” Risch replies. “He’s great. He is incredible.”

Risch, who will turn 81 in May, issued a statement last month in the days before the Iowa caucus endorsing Trump over his Republican rivals.

“I realize President Trump greatly aggravates the left and the national media,” Risch told Politico in the statement. “I believe that is a small price to pay for righting this ship. … I hope Republicans will join me in nominating President Trump.”

Risch’s office did not respond Monday to a request for comment from the Idaho Statesman.

Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, complains in the “SNL” sketch that he’s been pushing Congress to pass renewed aid for Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s invasion. Risch recently voted for a bill that would provide $60 billion to Ukraine, and billions more for Israel and humanitarian assistance for Palestinians. The bipartisan bill passed by a 70-29 vote, including support from Risch and fellow U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho.

Risch traveled in May 2022 to Ukraine, where he met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“The United States cannot be the policeman of the world, nor can we engage in every conflict, which is why we must support allies who will stand with us in what is a very dangerous time globally,” Risch and Crapo said in a statement. “Although this legislation is not what we would have drafted, it is a strong bill that makes Idaho and America safer — our first responsibility.”

Trump’s opposition to the bill, however, has led U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, not to hold a vote on the funding bill in the lower chamber, stalling war funds to Ukraine and other U.S. allies.

Risch and Rubio are then joined on “SNL” by household names Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, both Republicans of South Carolina. Each presents their own personal slights and public embarrassments at the hands of Trump before also confirming their own endorsements of the 45th U.S. president.

Graham states Trump was the best president since Ronald Reagan. Scott says Trump was the best since Abraham Lincoln.

“He is greater than Reagan,” Risch responds. “Oh yeah, right!”

U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, was portrayed by actor Mikey Day in a sketch on “Saturday Night Live” on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. Sarah A. Miller/smiller@idahostatesman.com
U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, was portrayed by actor Mikey Day in a sketch on “Saturday Night Live” on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. Sarah A. Miller/smiller@idahostatesman.com

Risch’s Senate office was among those trashed by Jan. 6 rioters on the U.S. Capitol after Trump lost the 2020 presidential election to Biden. Risch at the time called the violent acts intended to disrupt the democratic process “unpatriotic and un-American in the extreme.”

Trump was impeached by the House for inciting an insurrection, but the Senate lacked a two-thirds majority to convict the former president of the charge. Risch notably fell asleep during a portion of the Senate impeachment trial against Trump. He and Crapo both voted against convicting Trump.

Today, Trump — the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination — faces federal prosecution on four felony counts for charges that he tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

“So, I mean, we all agree that Trump is great, right?” Risch says in the scene.