Des Moines, Iowa: Alec Baldwin mixed his Emmy-winning impression of President Donald Trump and the advocacy of a serious Democratic activist Monday, headlining a state party banquet in Des Moines.
The actor known lately for his recurring role on Saturday Night Live wowed more than 2,000 party faithful, at times slipping into the Trump spoof but urging them to work harder than they did in 2016, when Trump carried the state.
It was much-needed humour for a party, still licking its wounds from the presidential election, and locked out of the governor's mansion and in the legislative minority after controlling both just 10 years ago.
Baldwin donned his contorted faux-Trump scowl and joked about Democrats' annual Jefferson-Jackson banquets, named for past Democratic presidents, but which his character confused. "Jefferson Jackson was a great man," Baldwin blurted.
In a nod to Iowa's renewable energy scene, Baldwin's Trump gave a shout out to corn-based fuel additive producers by noting "all the ethanol miners out there."
That was after he took the stage, posing first as a professor at the defunct Trump University, touting course listings such as "political science fiction," and featuring members of Trump's cabinet as the faculty.
"Jeff Sessions will be teaching a class. He just can't remember which one," Baldwin quipped, in a reference to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who testified this month he had forgotten about a Trump campaign meeting where an aide suggested a Trump meeting in Russia.
But Baldwin, a Democratic activist for years behind the scenes, talked about his experience travelling through Massachusetts with Sen. Ted Kennedy during his 1994 campaign against Republican Mitt Romney.
More recently, Baldwin campaigned this fall for winning Virginia governor candidate Ralph Northam ahead of the Nov. 7 election.
Baldwin impersonated former President Bill Clinton, less for laughs than to remind the audience of the former president's advice that the investigation into Russian connections with the Trump campaign is less advisable for the party than persuading voters to support Democrats.
Baldwin called on Iowa Democrats, also still smarting over the bitter 2016 presidential caucus fight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, to unite after the 2018 gubernatorial primary, now featuring seven candidates.
"I want you to take the pledge right now and come together," Baldwin said.
With one last joke, he implored Americans to "send Trump to a retirement home in Moscow where he belongs."
And he brought the crowd to its feet with his final request: "Let's make America America again."