Robert De Niro's Mueller haunts Eric Trump in scathing SNL skit

Robert De Niro plays Robert Mueller in a "Saturday Night Live" skit that pokes fun at the Trump family's fears

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published December 9, 2018 2:00PM (EST)

Robert De Niro at the 72nd annual Tony Awards (AP/Michael Zorn)
Robert De Niro at the 72nd annual Tony Awards (AP/Michael Zorn)

There may be more truth than the Trump family wants to admit in a recent "Saturday Night Live" skit in which Robert De Niro played special counsel Robert Mueller to Mikey Day's Donald Trump Jr. and Alex Moffat's Eric Trump.

The skit begins with Day's Donald Jr. reading from Clement Clarke Moore’s "A Visit From St. Nicholas" to Moffat's Eric, who can't sleep because he has been watching scary television — that is, the news.

"Eric, there’s no boogeyman in your closet. Have you been watching the news again? You can’t watch that stuff, bud. It’s too grown-up," Day's Donald Jr. chides Eric. After joking about Eric Trump not knowing the meaning of the words "'twas" and "indict," the skit shifts gears when Eric thinks he hears a spooky rattling.

"That’s just the cheap steel dad uses to build his towers. They just groan in the wind," Donald Jr. reassures Eric before opening the closet, which reveals De Niro's Mueller as he motions that he's watching Eric with the finger gesture made famous by De Niro's role in the "Meet the Parents" franchise. After Donald Jr. leaves the room to take a phone call from his lawyer (he asks if he can flip on someone to save his skin), Mueller appears next to Eric's bed to have a little talk.

"Don’t be scared. It’s just me, Robert Mueller, your dad’s friend from work," De Niro's Robert Mueller reassures Moffat's Eric Trump.

"I’m not allowed to talk to you," Moffat's Eric Trump shoots back.

"That’s fine, Eric. It was pretty clear early on that you don’t know anything," De Niro's Mueller responds.

"Nope!" Moffat's Eric chimes in.

"I wish I could say the same for some of your dad’s friends," De Niro's Mueller intones, prompting a series of gags in which Eric misremembers the last names of Paul Manafort and George Papadopoulos, as well as the meaning of the word "redacted." After Eric Trump tells Mueller that "people say you’re the worst thing to ever happen to my dad," the special counsel replies "No, Eric, getting elected president was the worst thing that ever happened to your dad."

While there is no way of knowing whether Eric Trump has literally stayed up late at night over concerns about his father's future, "Saturday Night Live" has proved prophetic in the past when it comes to the Trump child. In a skit from 2017, the show depicted Eric Trump accidentally admitting that his presidential father still plays a role making business decisions for the Trump Organization despite recusing himself. Less than three weeks later, Forbes Magazine published an interview in which the real Eric Trump admitted that he and his father discuss "the bottom line, profitability reports and stuff like that" on a "probably quarterly" basis.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Donald Trump Eric Trump Robert De Niro Robert Mueller Saturday Night Live