Trump team gloats at town hall victory as CNN staff rages at ‘display of lies’ | CNN

Donald Trump believes he got everything he wanted from a controversial town hall on CNN that embarrassed the network and sparked a wave of outrage, according to several people close to him. This gave Trump a platform to lie to a large audience.

The former president was interested in doing a town hall because it would give him campaign material for social media. He was eager to do that on CNN because the campaign had reached an understanding — which a spokeswoman denied — that would bookend more Trump hires.

Trump didn’t seem particularly concerned with whether the broadcast would get higher ratings, though he did tell CNN chief executive Chris Licht that he would boost their ratings, to which Licht nodded and said “it’s supposed to be good conversation and fun.” Two people said.

Trump’s advisers saw the town hall as an eventual strategic victory for the former president, who was happy to play to a live audience of Republican and pro-Republican voters in New Hampshire, which hosts the first 2024 GOP presidential primary, and spoke on CNN. Moderator, Kaitlan Collins, tried to check him in real time.

Donald Trump’s CNN Town Hall Fact Check – Video Report

Later, Trump allies joked that they saw the event as an hour of Trump infomercials and a campaign contribution of sorts, and that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Trump’s closest rival for the nomination, would be similarly crushed. Discussion.

The incident — in which Trump mocked writer E. Jean Carroll — who is responsible for sexual abuse — won’t help him in the general election, especially among female voters.

Joe Biden Then tweeted: “It’s easy, guys. Want another four years? If you don’t, join our campaign.

In stark contrast to the joy of the Trump camp, CNN’s mood was grim amid widespread reports of internal resentment. The network’s own media correspondent, Oliver Darcy, wrote in his newsletter Wednesday that “it’s hard to see how America has been served by the display of falsehoods aired on CNN.”

But the Trump campaign appears to have gotten what it wanted from the CNN town hall in part because it negotiated the terms of the event with an unusual degree of leverage, according to several people familiar with how the planning unfolded.

For starters, Trump’s team played hardball with CNN for months — the first to hold a town hall after Trump announced his 2024 candidacy. However, the campaign is always more likely to go with CNN over NBC or Fox News, with other major networks in talks to host an event.

Pro-Trump commentators and alt-rights have already appeared on Fox News programs this campaign, and while MSNBC has recently drawn higher ratings than CNN, it has been deemed inhospitable by liberal network advisers compared to Licht-era CNN. So much for Republicans.

Trump’s team found that CNN worked for its needs because it could be a moderator for Collins, a rising star who co-hosts the network’s morning show, but Trump has remained on the beat and is careful to protect his relationship with the former. President.

Aligning Collins with Republicans who voted for Trump in 2020 was as close to home turf as the campaign could get. The team said they would have rejected Jake Tapper. After he threatened to ban Republicans Falsely supporting Trump’s 2020 election from his shows.

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The campaign ensured pre- and post-town hall coverage aired Trump pledges. Among the bookings: former Trump White House press aide Hogan Gidley, pro-Trump congressmen Brian Mast and Byron Donalds and pro-Trump senator JD Vance.

A spokeswoman for CNN denied that the network made any formal agreements to book surrogates as guests to host the town hall.

Not every moment at the town hall has been seen as a victory for Trump, however, and his own misdeeds may have created more legal headaches for a man already beset by multiple investigations.

Asked by Collins if he had shown anyone classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, Trump replied “not really,” an answer that will be of interest to prosecutors investigating his alleged misconduct.

Jack Smith, the special counsel appointed by US Attorney General Merrick Garland to lead the criminal investigation into Trump’s possession of national security documents and obstruction of justice, has recently been asking witnesses whether Trump has been showing documents since his presidency.

He also said the New York Times may face a new lawsuit Wednesday from writer E. Jean Carroll over her diatribe against him at a Trump town hall. A “made up story” this week.

But Trump privately cheered on the flight back to Florida and played James Brown’s It’s a Man’s World, people familiar with the matter said.

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