Arlington Heights 8th-grader's impersonations of Trump, Clinton go viral

When Principal Brian Kaye first heard that a student wanted to do a graduation speech impersonating 2016's top politicians, he was a little nervous.

Then, Jack Aiello began his tryout for Thomas Middle School teachers and administrators, and they couldn't stop laughing.

“He just nailed it,” Kaye said.

That was the same response on graduation night — June 7 — when the Arlington Heights middle school student brought down the house with his impersonations of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Ted Cruz.

Aiello gave the last speech of the night and Kaye said the laughter in the room was overwhelming.

“You could actually feel the excitement as he was moving from one candidate to the next,” Kaye said. “His timing was perfect. He got a standing ovation. It was so fun.”

Aiello left graduation with his diploma and a lot of compliments on his speech, but after posting the eight-minute video to YouTube this week, the story took another turn.

Since being posted online, the video has gone viral. It had more than 122,000 views by Thursday afternoon and has been covered on news sites globally, including the Daily Mail and The Washington Post.

Kaye said Aiello is a quiet, humble student and didn't expect the attention the video has garnered.

“He just wanted to write a good speech for his graduation,” Kaye said. “Who would have thought we would get a call from the 'Today Show'?”

The speech, which ties in the politicians' speaking mannerisms and hand gestures to lessons students learned during their years at Thomas Middle School, never makes a negative statement about any candidate.

“I think that's why it hit a chord. He never puts a candidate down. He just keeps it light and exciting,” Kaye said. “We're excited to bring good attention to Thomas Middle School and to Jack. He's just a good, humble kid, so it's cool to see him getting all this positive attention he deserves.”

The Aiello family declined an interview with the Daily Herald on Thursday after fielding requests from national media all day.

In an early morning interview with “Good Morning America,” Jack's father, John, said his son has been interested in politics for several years.

“He's always been good with impressions, so while watching along with his mom and I, he picked up phrases and mannerisms of the candidates,” John told the ABC morning show.

His mother, Carla, said they helped Jack write the speech, which recalled some of his middle school experiences as narrated by the presidential hopefuls.

“His classmates were encouraging of one another, and when he delivered the speech, he got quite the reaction,” she told GMA.

The video even got a response from one of the politicians Aiello impersonated.

“Ok, this kid is funny!” Cruz tweeted Wednesday night. “Nicely done, and congrats on graduating!”

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