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CNN insiders lead horrified reaction to Trump town hall: ‘We’re going to get crushed’

Former president uses New Hampshire event to push election lies and conspiracy theories

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Thursday 11 May 2023 08:57 BST
CNN’s anchors lead horrified reaction to Trump town hall

CNN’s controversial live town hall with Donald Trump was blasted by its own anchors on air and slammed by insiders at the news network.

The former president used the Wednesday night event in New Hampshire to again push his debunked 2020 election lies and conspiracy theories. He also refused to say he supported Ukraine.

Mr Trump’s bombastic performance in front of an audience of 400 Republicans and GOP-leaning independents was widely panned for giving him a platform to push his fraudulent claims.

And it did not go unnoticed by the CNN hosts who went on air after the town hall, hosted by Kaitlan Collins, ended.

“He called a Black law enforcement officer a thug. He said people here in Washington, DC, and Chinatown don’t speak English. He attacked Kaitlan (Collins) as a nasty woman... he made fun of (E Jean Carrol’s) sexual assault and many in the audience laughed,” said Jake Tapper to Anderson Cooper.

“And applauded,” added Cooper.

Tapper added: “It was an interesting night, Mr Trump’s first lie was told just seconds into the night with his false and familiar claim that the 2020 election was quote ‘a rigged election’ and the falsehoods kept on coming fastened furious, about the January 6 insurrection, about the threat to vice-president Pence’s ability to overturn the election, about Covid, the economy and more.”

Justin Baragona of The Daily Beast tweeted that he had been contacted by a CNN on-air personality, whom he did not name, who gave them their shocked reaction to the town hall.

“It is so bad. I was cautiously optimistic despite the criticism. It is awful. It’s a Trump infomercial. We’re going to get crushed,” the CNN employee told him.

Another CNN insider told the Rolling Stone that the town hall had been “appalling” and criticised their employer for giving Mr Trump “a huge platform to spew his lies”.

Yet another CNN insider told the magazine that the event has been “a f*****g disgrace” and that giving Mr Trump airtime like that was “1000 per cent a mistake. No one (at CNN) is happy”.

“Just brutal,” a CNN primetime producer told the Rolling Stone.

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