Trump defends CNN over town hall as his ratings for event drop

Former president drew 3.3 million viewers on network, less than he achieved at similar events on Fox News

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Friday 12 May 2023 04:46 BST
CNN’s anchors lead horrified reaction to Trump town hall

Donald Trump has defended CNN for hosting his controversial town hall event as viewing figures show his ratings for the event were down.

The chaotic event in New Hampshire, which allowed the former president a broad platform to spread election lies and conspiracy theories, drew 3.3 million viewers.

While it made CNN the most watched cable news network on Wednesday night, according to ratings from Nielson, the event drew fewer viewers than town halls he did on Fox News, reported Axios.

The town hall also failed to beat the 3.4 million viewers who tuned into a Joe Biden town hall in 2020 before the presidential election in which he beat Mr Trump.

CNN has been blasted by insiders at the network for its decision for putting on the live event, but Mr Trump came to the network’s defence on Thursday.

“I was happy to do it,” Mr Trump told Fox News Digital. “I got the word out to millions of people that would generally not hear this point of view concerning things such as the border, inflation, the economy, energy independence, the Afghanistan catastrophe and more.”

“CNN is taking a lot of heat,” Mr Trump said. “I think CNN did the right thing by putting me on – all you have to do is look at their fantastic ratings.”

And he called it “an honour” to have taken part.

CNN defended its decision to put Mr Trump on the air in a statement after the event, which was moderated by host Kaitlan Collins.

“Kaitlan Collins exemplified what it means to be a world-class journalist. She asked tough, fair and revealing questions,” a network spokesperson said.

“She followed up and fact-checked President Trump in real time to arm voters with crucial information about his positions as he enters the 2024 election as the Republican frontrunner.

“That is CNN’s role and responsibility: to get answers and hold the powerful to account.”

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