Much like his comedy muse Donald Trump, Alec Baldwin has a predilection for Twitter fights. Instead of fighting with Trump himself though, Baldwin spent a chunk of Wednesday feuding with a fellow Donald Trump impersonator, Anthony Atamanuik. The trouble started when Baldwin discussed the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, specifically explaining that while he is not actively lobbying to play Trump at the gig, some Trump impersonators are. Atamanuik, who portrayed Trump on Midnight throughout the election and has a pinned tweet of the show discussing Mark Hamill endorsing him for the WHCD job, took Baldwin’s remarks as directed at him. In response, he tweeted “No one’s lobbying Alec. I think it was @midnight that did that for me. But thank you for the f@%k you on Kimmel.” Baldwin then acknowledged the tweet with a curt, “You’re welcome.”
The flareup marks Baldwin’s first engagement with Atamanuik, but it is not the beginning of their beef. That goes back to October of last year, when Baldwin began playing Trump on Saturday Night Live, after Atamanuik auditioned for the show with impressions of Trump and, in something of a cruel turn, Baldwin. Then, in Baldwin’s first appearance as Trump, he pronounced China as “Gyna,” a joke many found similar, if not outright identical, to Atamanuik’s own.
At the time, Atamanuik never explicitly accused Baldwin of plagiarism. On Wednesday, however, comedian James Adomian, who played Bernie Sanders to Atamanuik’s Trump in sketches throughout the election, suggested just that during Atamanuik and Baldwin’s tiff. He tweeted, “Anthony Atamanuik auditioned for SNL last year and then they used his audition tape for Alec to rip. Or as it’s known at SNL, a number 4!” Baldwin, who said on Kimmel that he did his Trump spin with almost no preparation, shot back with threats of a lawsuit.
So far, the president himself has stayed out of it, but, honestly, who knows for how long?