After U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 29, many people on social media began to suggest that actor Alec Baldwin take his place instead.
Baldwin’s impression of Trump on Saturday Night Live has been very popular — even before the election — and now many people, including some celebrities, are calling for Baldwin to attend the dinner in the absence of Trump.
U.S. presidents usually attend the dinner, which typically includes the discussion of political journalism as well as some lighthearted joking about the press and the president.
Trump will be the first president to skip the dinner since Ronald Reagan in 1981, who missed it because he was recovering from an assassination attempt.
But even then Reagan was still able to deliver remarks to the event via telephone.
Actor and director Zach Braff was one of the first to raise the idea.
Many others joined in, calling on Baldwin to take his impression to the dinner.
Braff’s suggestion inspired a Change.org petition to ask Baldwin to attend the dinner in his Trump character.
The petition’s page reads, “Donald Trump is a snowflake. He cannot handle the Truth and facts. He continues to slander unfavourable coverage of his policies and statements as ‘fake news’ delivered by a ‘lying, dishonest press.’ He has decided to withdraw from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner because his delicate Conservative Cupcake feelings have been hurt.”
More than 1,000 people have signed in less than 22 hours.
Baldwin has played many different versions of Trump on SNL.
At the beginning of October, Baldwin debuted his Trump character while he played up all the memorable moments from the first debate between former Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton and Trump.
WATCH BELOW: Shirtless Vladimir Putin visits Donald Trump for Christmas on SNL
Baldwin has his Trump impersonation down to a science, and explained his approach to the New York Times.
“I see a guy who seems to pause and dig for the more precise and better language he wants to use, and never finds it,” Baldwin said in an interview. “It’s the same dish — it’s a grilled-cheese sandwich rhetorically over and over again.”
Trump spoke out about Baldwin’s recurring role on Twitter.
Baldwin replied to the tweet saying he would agree to stop playing the character if Trump released his tax returns. Trump refused.
In an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show, Trump went off on many SNL skits depicting him, even attacking Baldwin.
Trump called the comedy show “terrible,” and Baldwin’s impersonations “mean-spirited” and “biased.”
The White House Correspondents’ Association has not reacted to the push for Baldwin to attend the dinner.
Baldwin has not yet responded to the requests.