CNN hosted a campaign town hall with Donald Trump on Wednesday in which the former president discussed the 2020 presidential election, the events of January 6, the Russo-Ukrainian War, and a recent civil case against him pertaining to an allegation of sexual assault.
This town hall marked Trump’s first appearance on the network since 2016.
Before a cheering crowd, Trump defended against accusations from CNN moderator Kaitlan Collins that he failed to promptly disavow events at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The former president pulled from his jacket a transcript of his tweets from that day and focused on a tweet in which he said, “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful.”
“No violence!” he wrote. “Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order — respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
Trump was also asked whether he supports the United States providing more taxpayer-funded aid to Ukraine and whether he wants Ukraine to prevail in its ongoing conflict with Russia.
“I don’t think in terms of winning and losing,” he said. “I think in terms of getting it settled so we stop killing all these people.”
The former president added that he wants other European nations to take more financial responsibility in the conflict.
“They’re in for $20 billion. We’re in for $170 [billion],” he claimed. “They have plenty of money. They should equalize.”
He claimed that, if he is re-elected as commander-in-chief, he will “have that war settled in one day — 24 hours.”
Trump also addressed allegations of sexual assault levied against him by former magazine writer E. Jean Carrol. A civil jury in New York recently found him liable for sexual abuse and defamation, as covered by The Dallas Express.
“I never met this woman,” Trump insisted. “What’s happening is they’re doing this for election interference.”
Furthermore, Trump addressed the controversy surrounding the 2020 presidential election and maintained his assertion that the election was “rigged” against him.
“That was a rigged election, and it’s a shame that we had to go through it,” he said. “It’s bad for our country. All over the world, they looked at it.”
Trump added that he would accept the results of the next presidential race if it were “honest.”
“If I think it’s an honest election, I would be honored to,” he said.
The town hall garnered a wide array of reactions from political commentators and elected officials.
U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) lambasted CNN for hosting the former president at all.
“There is simply no way CNN can feign ignorance about the fact that they set up a sexual assault victim to be targeted and attacked on national television a day after the verdict,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Wednesday night. “People were sounding the alarm about this exact scenario. They let it happen anyway without a plan.”
She asserted that the network must “take ownership” of “the choice to platform election disinformation [and] lies about January 6th.”
“This cannot be normalized,” she said. “It’s dangerous.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said she is “so proud of President Trump.”
“He is doing a town hall with CNN, who has attacked him more than anyone,” she wrote on Twitter. “Biden won’t even talk, can’t even talk to the press. But President Trump loves this country and is showing he’s willing to fight for it.”
Trump currently maintains a wide lead in the primary field for the 2024 GOP nomination.