Former President Donald Trump used his much-anticipated return to mainstream cable television news to give a wide swath of Americans a comprehensive view of what he’s been saying at rallies and in right-wing media. The televised CNN town hall opened with Trump repeatedly refusing to acknowledge his defeat in the 2020 election and defending a crowd of his supporters disrupting a peaceful transfer of power.
Responding to an opening question by CNN host Kaitlan Collins about accepting the 2020 results, Trump said, “When you look at what happened during that election, unless you’re a very stupid person, you Let’s see what happened.” He falsely claimed, “It was a rigged election.”
he went to call January 62021, when a violent mob of his supporters attacked police and stormed the Capitol to disrupt the certification of his election defeat, was a “beautiful day”. He said that Ashley Babbitt, a rioter who was killed by police trying to enter the House chamber, should not have been shot; denied that then-Vice President Mike Pence, who was hiding from rioters chanting for his execution, was in any danger; and reiterated his promise to pardon those who took part in the rebellion.
The town hall came just one day after a New York jury concluded that Trump was Responsible for sexual misconduct and then defaming author E. Jean Carroll, criticized by some Republicans and criticized by others update questions about its electronegativity. News of Carroll’s decision did not dampen Trump’s enthusiasm for the town hall, with advisers saying he was excited and eager to go. He insisted he never knew Carroll, accused her of lying and mocked his account that he attacked her in a dressing room at the department store Bergdorf Goodman in the 1990s.
“It is a fake story. A made-up story,” Trump said. “It is a fraudulent deal.”
Trump once again defended his infamous remarks on the set of “Access Hollywood” where he bragged about how famous men can perform unwanted sexual acts. When the tape surfaced during the 2016 campaign, it made headlines in the final month of the contest. Those comments reappeared in his videotaped deposition in the Carroll case, and he again stood by Collins when asked if he would retract them.
“It’s true. I said it’s been true for a million years, about a million years, maybe a little bit longer,” Trump said.
“So you’re standing with them?” Collins asked.
“I don’t want to lie,” replied Trump, who has faced many other allegations Years of sexual misconduct from women named with corroborating witnesses.
In response to questions about federal spending and debt, Trump entertained the possibility of a government debt default, which Collins pointed out economists warned could overwhelm financial markets and start a recession. Trump said, ‘You can do it because you will do it later.
He dismissed the apparent contradiction with his own presidency, when he repeatedly gave unconditional approval. debt ceiling Increases and said that the border should not be used as leverage for negotiations.
Trump said, ‘I was the president then.
“So why is it any different now when you’re out of the office?” Collins asked.
“Because I’m not president anymore,” Trump replied to laughter and applause.
Trump has repeatedly sidestepped questions about the point at which he would ban abortion during pregnancy, pointing to his record reshaping the courts and appointing three Supreme Court justices Provided majority to overturn while doing. Roe v. Wade Last year. He has shown some caution of anti-abortion views as an electoral drag for Republicans and has avoided the firmer stances of some of his rivals.
Trump has in recent weeks drawn criticism from the pro-life America group Susan B. Anthony after a campaign spokeswoman Said In a statement to The Washington Post, the abortion issue “must be decided at the state level” and did not express support for a federal ban. But the group’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, spoke more positively after meeting with Trump, suggesting to The Associated Press this week that she supported a federal ban with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.
Close aide Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.), who was present for the meeting with Dannenfelser and proposed a 15-week national ban, declined to say whether Trump would commit to signing his bill. “I’ll let them speak for themselves but I’m very pleased with the meeting,” Graham said in an interview at the Capitol on Tuesday.
At Wednesday’s town hall, Trump declined to clarify whether he would support a federal ban on abortion at 15 weeks. Trump said, “I am looking for a solution that will work.”
Trump also refused to say whether he wanted Ukraine to win in its struggle against Russia, suggesting (as he often does, without evidence) that Russian President Vladimir Putin had put pressure on Ukraine. Wouldn’t have attacked if he was in the White House. Trump said, “I don’t think about winning and losing, I think about getting this settled so that we stop killing all these people.”
He also would not say whether he considered Putin a war criminal, describing him as “a smart guy.” Trump said: “If you say he’s a war criminal it’s going to be very difficult to make a deal to stop this thing.”
Despite renewed concerns from some Republicans about Trump’s viability in a general election, he has taken an impressive early polling lead in the Republican primary and is gaining momentum with the support of elected officials, some of whom have Calling for nominations has begun”Mandatory,” even as he faces a growing legal crisis. His main rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, is preparing to officially announce his candidacy soon, in what is expected to be key to his message.
Trump’s enduring popularity within the GOP was demonstrated by the start of Wednesday’s town hall in Manchester, NH, which featured a live studio audience of mostly Republicans and some undecided voters likely to vote in the party’s 2024 presidential primary, the nation’s first. Was. He gave a standing ovation as soon as Trump came on stage.
Some audience members applauded Trump for his repeated false claims about election fraud, though others appeared clearly outraged, such as a young man who waved his hand when he learned about Trump’s “illegal votes”. Eyes closed When an independent voter named Scott Dustin asked Trump if he would suspend talk of “polarizing” election fraud during the 2024 election race, Trump demurred: “Yeah, until I see election fraud.” “
Asked if he had any regrets about the events that happened on January 6, 2021, when his supporters stormed the Capitol, breaking windows and injuring police officers. “They were there with love in their hearts – it was incredible and it was a beautiful day,” Trump said.
He insisted that he had called on the crowd to act peacefully, and at one point held out a piece of white paper on which was printed a timeline of his remarks on social media. He continued to blame then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for lapses in security, suggesting that she had offered “troops” to officers at the Capitol to protect them, even though none of the top officials Even the account has not supported that claim. ,
Trump said he was inclined to pardon a “large portion” of the January 6 protesters and would do so “early” in his second administration, arguing that they were “living in hell” right now.
Democratic National Committee spokesman Ammar Moussa responded: “For twenty minutes, Donald Trump repeatedly lied about the 2020 election, undermined our democracy, and dismissed the violent attack on our Capitol and the election results as ‘a Tried to overthrow ‘Beautiful Day’. It would be disgusting if it weren’t so dangerous.
Latest in The Washington Post-ABC National vote, an open-ended question in which the names of the candidates were not offered, found that 43 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents voluntarily chose Trump as their choice for the party’s nomination, while 20 percent voted for DeSantis. Took the name of When a second question named six candidates, the overall result showed 51 percent support for Trump and 25 percent for DeSantis.
Campaign aides discussed possible questions with the former president, advisers said, though he did not prepare for the massive appearance in keeping with his past practice. The advisers spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. Throughout the town hall, the campaign fired off a flurry of emails stressing Trump’s policy proposals on energy, immigration, the economy and foreign policy.
Trump has recently answered spontaneous audience questions at campaign events and local outlets with conservative Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson (who has since left the network) and less traditional sit-downs like the Nelk Boys. Here’s a busy clip of media interviews with… Podcasters and far-right British politician Nigel Farage.
It’s been years since Trump faced an independent TV moderator or interviewer like CNN’s Collins. Collins covered the Trump White House for CNN, where he encountered his officials. she was at one point forbidden From an open press event at the White House on his attempts to question the then-Pres.
Even Trump has generally avoided televised interviews and town halls on networks not aligned with him. Has regularly done pull-side and group interviews with mainstream journalists on his programs and in his aircraft. Trump’s campaign intentionally seeking encounters with supporters and reporters draw a contrast With DeSantis, Joe is working away from traditional media to sharpen his retail skills.
During Trump’s 2016 campaign, Trump benefited from expanded live coverage of his rallies on CNN, something the network’s president at the time later said he regretted. More recently, Trump has alienated and discredited the network, prompting a persistent supporter mail blaster Its headquarters as well as for prominent Democrats.
Trump participated in Wednesday’s town hall as he faces local, state and federal scrutiny, with his efforts to reverse his loss in the 2020 election and false claims of election fraud coming under scrutiny from prosecutors. In addition to raising funds from material, in addition to dealing with classified matters. Trump was indicted earlier this year in a hush-money scheme and pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts.
When loudly pressed on why he kept classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, Trump called Collins “a bad person”.