CNN announced on Monday former President Donald Trump would participate in a presidential town hall event next week, making way for Trump’s first appearance on the cable news network since the 2016 campaign.
The event is set to take place in New Hampshire at 9 a.m. ET on May 10. It will be moderated by CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins.
At St. Anselm College, Trump will take questions from Republicans and undeclared voters who plan to vote in New Hampshire’s GOP presidential primary, according to the network.
Trump, who is known to throw the “fake news” label at CNN, agreed to participate in the town hall after “CNN executives made a compelling pitch,” an adviser to the former president told Semafor. The adviser also said Trump is “running to be president for all Americans.”
CNN says Donald Trump is scheduled to appear in New Hampshire town hall next week; @kaitlancollins will moderate pic.twitter.com/fBQaiMSFT8
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) May 2, 2023
Polls examining the 2024 election generally show Trump with a significant lead over the rest of the GOP primary field. The next closest Republican is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has not announced a campaign but reportedly is moving in that direction.
Trump is running his latest re-election campaign after losing the 2020 contest to now-President Joe Biden, who last week announced he is seeking a second term. This time around, Trump is facing a flurry of high-profile investigations, including a case in Manhattan in which he became the first former U.S. president to be criminally charged.
Some, including POLITICO, surmised that Trump agreeing to sit down with CNN was an “implicit” swipe at Fox News after Trump lashed out at the Republican National Committee following its decision to pick Fox News to host the first 2024 presidential primary.
“When you’re leading by seemingly insurmountable numbers, and you have hostile Networks with angry, TRUMP & MAGA hating anchors asking the ‘questions,’ why subject yourself to being libeled and abused?” Trump posted to his Truth Social platform.
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CNN is facing blowback and even calls for a boycott over its decision to host Trump for a town hall.
“Wow, apparently CNN figured out how to do real-time fact–checking that might prevent a bad-faith actor from making a flurry of false claims that would otherwise go unchallenged,” quipped Washington Post columnist Philip Bump.
“Here it is, [CNN] committing journalistic suicide: If there was ONE consensus about 2024 it was that ‘covering’ Trump the way they did in 2016 (handing him live blocks of free airtime with no fact-checking possible) was irresponsible,” tweeted former ESPN host and hard-Left commentator Keith Olbermann, adding, “And CNN’s doing it.”
A statement from CNN explained why the network set up a town hall with Trump.
“CNN has a longstanding tradition of hosting leading presidential candidates for Town Halls and political events as a critical component of the network’s robust campaign coverage,” the network said. “This event with former President Trump will be the first of many for CNN in the coming months as CNN correspondents travel across the country to hear directly from voters in the runup to the 2024 presidential election.”