Well, this was a predictably horrible idea.
As you’ve probably heard by now, Donald Trump was given a Town Hall special on CNN Wednesday night. Not only was it the day after the presidential candidate was found liable by a jury for sexual abuse — gross enough — it was also a pathetic excuse for a “town hall.” See, town halls are when candidates have to face a representative sample of the constituency they’re hoping to govern. CNN gave Trump a room full of only “Republicans and Republican-leaning independents” — fully ignoring over half the country. One politician with an audience friendly to him isn’t a town hall — it’s a rally. CNN gave Trump a televised rally. And he used the platform to spew some of his worst ideas.
We highly recommend you don’t watch it. In fact, maybe steer clear of CNN altogether from now on after that. Truly gross.
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There’s a reason responsible news organizations don’t air specials devoted to the KKK, neo-Nazi organizations, or anti-government militias. Just saying “he has a right to his opinion” doesn’t cover it. And we’re going to lay out why by going over the lowlights of what he said — all of which CNN should have expected…
E. Jean Carroll
Again, this “town hall” aired just one day after a jury ruled against Trump, finding he did sexually abuse columnist E. Jean Carroll. Legally the ex-POTUS didn’t put up much of a fight, but he’s badmouthed her all along the way. And of course he was going to do so here. He said about his victim:
“This is a fake story. Made-up story. I have no idea who the hell she is. She’s a whack job.”
Again, a jury of his peers unanimously agreed he sexually abused her. It’s the closest we’ll ever get to a guilty verdict for the many, many accusations of assault against this man. What did CNN do? They gave Trump a stage to retaliate against his sexual abuse victim. The pro-Trump audience laughed as he made fun of her story, saying:
“What kind of a woman meets somebody and brings them up and within minutes you’re playing hanky panky in a dressing room?”
He also made horrible, unsubstantiated claims that Carroll was racist, saying:
“I have no idea who she is. I had a picture taken years ago with her and her husband, nice guy John Johnson. He was a newscaster, very nice man. She called him an ape, happens to be African American. Called him an ape — the judge wouldn’t allow us to put that in. Her dog or her cat was named Vagina, the judge wouldn’t allow to put that in.”
He accused her of using racial epithets against her Black husband. If you followed the trial closely, you know Trump was warned by the judge about retaliating against the victim on his little Truth Social app. Instead he got to do it on TV. Thanks, CNN.
Trump’s support of Vladimir Putin is well-documented. He can scream about the “Russia Hoax” all he wants, but the investigation found that Russia DID give Trump help in the 2016 election. That’s what the Mueller Report says. A lot of people on Don’s team went to prison for lying about it. And in return, he turned the Republican Party into a disturbingly pro-Putin outfit. (Remember when all those GOP senators spent the Fourth of July in Moscow? Because it happened!)
So it’s not much of a surprise his stance on Russia’s illegal, murderous invasion of the Ukraine. But how would he answer the question? In a roomful of friends? When asked point-blank if he wants Ukraine to win the conflict, he deflected:
“I don’t think in terms of winning and losing. I think in terms of getting it settled so we stop killing all these people.”
When asked if he agreed Putin was a war criminal, he deferred:
“I think it’s something that should not be discussed now, it should be discussed later.”
This man is running for president. And he can’t even say he supports our ally. He can’t even decry a man who has attacked us multiple times.
Trump played all the old hits in this concert special, including a refrain of the classic “Nasty woman.” Moderator Kaitlan Collins is a fellow conservative and former employee of Tucker Carlson — but she’s also a woman. So don’t expect her to get much respect from this ex-Prez. When Trump deflected his answers about the handling of top secret classified documents, she pressed him, and he interrupted her:
“Can I talk? Can I answer the question?”
“I want you to answer the question, that’s why I asked it.”
To which a man who was the President of the United States of America responded:
“You’re a nasty person.”
“Nasty” — a word he pulls out especially for women he feels are stepping out of their place.
The audience cheered btw. Sigh…
Roe v Wade
Trump not only celebrated the overturning of Roe v Wade, calling it a “great victory” — he took personal credit for it. He said:
“The fact I was able to terminate Roe v. Wade after 50 years of trying. They worked for 50 years — I’ve never seen anything like it. They worked, and I was even, I was so honored to have done it. We are in a very good negotiating position right now only because of what I was able to do.”
He was talking about negotiating a federal ban on abortion, to be clear. That was the questioning that led here. And when he said he supported exceptions for rape, incest, and saving the life of the mother, he also did his usual equivocating thing of noting that “a lot of people are against that.” Because he doesn’t want to lose those people. Heaven forbid…
The Big Lie
Well, this is the big one. Remember this is what got Trump suspended from Twitter and Facebook. Ever since the 2020 election, Trump has claimed he did not in fact lose but that the whole thing was rigged. A grand conspiracy in which the press, the voting machine manufacturers, and the governments of multiple states (largely Republican, mind you) were all lying about the results, and that Joe Biden was not the legitimate president.
He spouted the false election claims for all to hear on social media, despite never being able to produce a single piece of evidence supporting them. In fact, all the efforts to dig up anything only turned up more votes for Biden. Federal judges, local election commissions, everyone agreed there was no voter fraud, that the results of the election were legit. But Trump kept saying it anyway. (And so did his cronies — more on that in a moment…)
On January 6, 2021, this Big Lie came to a head when Trump held a “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, D.C., just a short walk from the Capitol Building — on the same day the election was being certified by Vice President Mike Pence and the rest of Congress. He told the people to march on the Capitol, to fight for him. And they did. They stormed the building, beating police officers and threatening worse violence against elected officials. They chanted “Hang Mike Pence.”
Most of these people have been identified in the days and months since and have already faced trial. Over 1000 Trump fans, including members of the Proud Boys and Oath Breakers, were charged. Many have already been found guilty of crimes ranging from entering a restricted federal building to seditious conspiracy. Those charged with the latter were found to have intended to overthrow the legal election process. This wasn’t just a riot. It was an attempted coup. It was an insurrection. Led by Trump’s words. In fact, a great many defendants argued exactly that in court — that Trump was the one who told them to do it. The incitement of this insurrection is also what led to Trump’s second impeachment, in the final days of his presidency. He couldn’t be charged with crimes, but this was the presidential version. Fox News also faced consequences for spreading the lie — they paid $787.5 million, the largest settlement in history to Dominion Voting Systems, who sued over their machines being lied about. They showed in their damning lawsuit discovery that even no one at Fox actually believed Trump won behind the scenes. But saying it was good for ratings.
OK, all that, and he’s continued to spread the Big Lie on his Truth Social and at his rallies. So what did CNN expect him to do when they put him on TV?
Throughout the special, Trump consistently doubled down on his claims the election was rigged, saying there were improper ballots in Detroit, Atlanta and Philadelphia. He also defended the phone call he had with Georgia’s Secretary of State in which he asked him to “find” 11,000 more votes so that he’d win. He continued to argue the election was rigged, stolen from his supporters. He said it again and again and again.
If he incited violence among those who stood before him on January 6, what the eff does CNN think putting him in front of millions of home viewers to say the same BS would do? That’s why we’re saying this is the most irresponsible thing we’ve seen on TV maybe ever. We highly recommend you don’t watch. Nor that you watch CNN at all if this is what they think passes for election coverage.
[Image via CNN/MSNBC/PBS/YouTube.]
Originally published at perezhilton.com