NBC has pulled a portion of a "Saturday Night Live" promotional reel in which this weekend's host, Donald Trump, calls his Republican rival Ben Carson a "total loser." The unusual move was made as advocacy groups asked NBC to remove Trump as host.
On Wednesday, a coalition of Latino groups sought to have Trump removed as host, while ColorofChange.org, an advocacy group, also sought to have him removed.
The promo clip, originally around 2 minutes and 20 seconds, and released online Wednesday, featured a quick clip of the GOP candidate saying, "Ben Carson is a complete and total loser." The line drew the attention of Carson (who said he wouldn't watch the program anyway, expressing disappointment with the swipe).
But the promo suddenly and unexpectedly went "private" late Wednesday -- meaning that no one could access it publicly. When it went live later, the Carson jab was gone, and the reel ran under two minutes.
In a "Today" story Thursday on Trump's "SNL" appearance, the show confirmed that the reference had been dropped. Trump also spoke by phone to "Today" co-host Savannah Guthrie, saying he was honored to do "SNL," calling it an iconic brand like "60 Minutes," where he also appeared on the season premiere.
He didn't respond to Guthrie's question about Latino groups that protested outside 30 Rockefeller Plaza on Wednesday evening before delivering a petition with reportedly more than 500,000 signatures, demanding that Trump's appearance be canceled. Instead, he said there had never been any acrimony with NBC in the wake of comments made in June when announcing his candidacy. At the time, he called some Mexican illegal immigrants "rapists." The comment led NBC to sever ties with Trump, who later said at a Chicago news conference: "They will stand behind lying Brian Williams, but won't stand behind people that tell it like it is, as unpleasant as that may be."
Trump said of Carson's response to the promo jab: "he said he would never do it but of course he," meaning Carson, "would do it. They didn't ask him to do it." NBC did not publicly address the promo.
The string of promos, in which Trump appears with "SNL" cast member Cecily Strong, mostly poke fun at his penchant for braggadocio.