He knows how to speak simply and directly. The audience for the event at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire comprised 400 Republican voters and those who leaned Republican but were undecided. They were electrified.
Donald Trump Is Back
“The crowds reaction off camera after the CNN Town Hall is what CNN and the corporate woke media don’t want you to see. The American people love and believe in President Trump, not them,” a Twitter user from the audience writing under the handle @4Mischief tweeted posting their own cellphone video.
He showed confidence amid negative news in the latest cycle about his having been found liable for sexually abusing writer E. Jean Carroll. He also pushed back against dominant media narratives about how he did nothing until three hours after the start of the Capitol riot to tell the rioters and protesters to go home.
What Happens Now?
Conservative commentators agreed that the performance may have solidified his chances to be the 2024 Republican nominee. CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy opined that Trump had returned to his 2016 form, which he claimed was dangerous.
“Even if Trump did well on CNN, I assumed this would still be a win for CNN. Well, it wasn’t. Instead, it was a catastrophe for the Hoax Network, which is why, right after the town hall; you could hear the tears of frustration in election meddler Jake Tapper’s voice,” Breitbart columnist John Nolte wrote. “Last night, Trump put the t-r-u-m-p in “triumph.” He showed up with a plan, executed it perfectly, exposed “moderator” Kaitlin “Nurse Ratched” Collins* for the mental lightweight she is, and charmed anyone watching who is not a humorless prig missing their “joy” gene.
“First of all, town halls are for the voters, not for the press. Not for the person who is the moderator. Kaitlan spent more time sharing her own views on a situation … The town hall is for the president to speak to the voters of New Hampshire. Not this back-and-forth with the media,” Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., said.
Trump Dominates Collins, Pushes Back at Attacks
The former president pushed back at questions by moderator Kaitlan Collins. He provided his version of events to everything she threw at him.
Donald Trump pulled out printed copies of his tweets. In a tweet from January 5 and 6 in which he said to “stay peaceful.” Then he pointed to a tweet from 3:13 in which he said, “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!” He claimed the tweet happened at 2:30.
A tweet from 2:38 by Trump said: “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” Trump, however, inaccurately said this tweet had been written on January 5. A review of his tweets from January 5 shows he only warned Antifa members that they were terrorists and law enforcement would be looking for them.
On the classified documents confiscated during the Mar-a-Lago raid last August, Trump claimed he had a right to them under the Presidential Records Act. He repeated his claim that the documents were secured by his Secret Service detail.
When it came to the Carroll lawsuit, Trump slammed it as “election interference,” repeated his claim to not knowing Carroll, and ridiculed her claim that she was alone with him and that they engaged in “hanky panky” near the cash register.
If any there were any questions about Trump’s ability to win the Republican nomination they were dispelled by his CNN performance.
Score one for Trump and his supporters. He came across as sharp and on his game at a time when voters question President Joe Biden’s mental faculties, which no doubt will be a major issue in 2024. The recent Washington Post/ABC poll showing Trump leading Biden drove this point home.
John Rossomando is a columnist for 19FortyFive.