Updated Mar 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

"SNL" cold open tackles coronavirus

Photo: Will Heath/NBC

"Saturday Night Live" skewered the Trump administration and 2020 Democrats as the cold open focused on the novel coronavirus.

Details: Beck Bennett's Vice President Mike Pence, who's leading the Trump administration's COVID-19 task force, introduced "some of the best people left in government" — like Kenan Thompson's HUD Secretary Ben Carson. It wasn't long before Democratic candidates Elizabeth Warren (Kate McKinnon), Bernie Sanders (Larry David), Pete Buttigieg (Colin Jost) and Amy Klobuchar (Rachel Dratch) crashed the news conference — as this week's "SNL" host John Mulaney arrived as Joe Biden wearing a "South Carolina" sash, a nod to the former vice president's primary win in the state.

  • Watch the clip below:

Go deeper: What the coronavirus means for Trump's presidency

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details and context.

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"SNL": Elizabeth Warren makes surprise appearance in cold open

Sen. Elizabeth Warren on "Saturday Night Live" with Kate McKinnon's Warren. Photo: Will Heath/NBC

The latest "Saturday Night Live" cold open featured a cameo by Sen. Elizabeth Warren as the show returned to last week's subject of the novel coronavirus.

The big picture: This time, "SNL" went after conservative Fox News host Laura Ingraham for her coverage on the virus. Cast regular Kate McKinnon's Ingraham called COVID-19 an "urban legend." "The left continues to wage its deceitful, dishonest and frankly gay smear campaign against President Trump," she said, before moving on to "interview" Warren — who suspended her Democratic presidential campaign last Thursday. McKinnon surprised Warren by appearing beside the Massachusetts senator after a quick change at the end of the segment.

  • Watch the clip below:

Flashback: "SNL" cold open tackles coronavirus

Mike Pence to local schools: It's OK to shut down over coronavirus

Vice President Mike Pence appears in a pre-taped interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" in Washington, D.C. Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC

President Trump would "respect any decisions that are made at the state and local level" on actions to combat the novel coronavirus, including school shutdowns, Vice President Mike Pence told NBC in an interview airing Sunday.

Why it matters: COVID-19 is a major challenge for the Trump administration, with 66 infections and one death from the virus in the U.S., per a CDC statement Saturday. A poor response could be "politically devastating" for them, Axios' Alayna Treene and Sam Baker note.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 1, 2020 - Health

Joe Biden: Pete Buttigieg reminds me of my son Beau

Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden at the first Democratic presidential debate in Miami last year. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden said that the 38-year-old Pete Buttigieg was reminiscent of his late son, Beau Biden, because he also "has a backbone ... like a ramrod," after Biden's former Democratic presidential rival endorsed him for president Monday.

The big picture: Biden's campaign has been gaining momentum since he won the South Carolina Democratic primary. Former 2020 candidates Amy Klobuchar, who dropped out of the race earlier in the day, and Beto O'Rourke, who suspended his campaign last November, also endorsed him at a rally in Dallas on Monday.

Go deeper: Joe Biden's sudden, shocking surge

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect O'Rourke's endorsement of Biden.