REM’s Michael Stipe blames media and Alec Baldwin’s ‘SNL’ impression for Trump rise

Stipe was speaking before the Republican candidate's election win

REM frontman Michael Stipe has spoken about what he deems as the reasons for Donald Trump’s rise, blaming the media and Alec Baldwin’s SNL impersonation of Trump.

Trump was elected US President overnight, beating his rival Hillary Clinton to the White House. Speaking to Baldwin before the vote on his ‘Here’s The Thing’ WYNC radio show, Bernie Sanders supporter Stipe said: “It is so sad that we have allowed ourselves to sink to this level of really entertainment, that’s what it is”.

“I blame media completely for it, including Saturday Night Live,” he added, before asking Baldwin: “What does it feel like from inside? What does it feel like playing that character? It’s satire, it’s brilliantly done, but it’s still adding to the push of… Warhol said, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. How have we created this monster? How have we put our particular American brand on this thing?”

Michael StipeGetty/FilmMagic

Baldwin responded: “When I was approached by Lorne [Michaels, SNL creator], who is a friend of mine, to do it, my first impulse was ‘no.’ Because in order to do that effectively, you need to have at least some appreciation of the person … for which Trump I have none.”

He continued: “I have had a wave of people… it’s kind of unsettling to me actually how many people come up to me all day long and they thank me because they needed something to laugh about. They needed a release.”

Stipe added that while he had concerns about Clinton being President, that he nonetheless felt that “we all have to vote against Donald Trump.”

Watch Baldwin’s Trump impression below.

Stipe previously spoke about his backing of Sanders to Rolling Stone, saying “He’s the senator who has consistently voted the way I would if I were a politician, and who has stood firm in his position and belief… In art and in music, I seek out and listen for honesty and realness. That’s why I’m backing Bernie Sanders for President of the United States. In politics, he is the person who is offering me the most honesty and the most realness.”