After the second presidential debate was cancelled, President Donald Trump holds a town hall on NBC, competing with one at the same time on ABC with former Vice President Joe Biden
On Thursday, Oct. 15, Donald Trump held a town hall with Savannah Guthrie. It was a 60-minute townhall with questions from both her and voters.
Savannah began by asking the president about how often he is tested.
Trump – “I test quite a bit,” Donald Trump said regarding how often he is tested. He mentioned he felt fine before the debate, but refused to answer whether or not he was tested the day of the debate. He says if he did not take a test the day of the debate, it must have been the day before the debate.
Savannah- She asked about the now infamous Rose Garden nomination ceremony, from which 13 people have tested positive. She mentioned that the president is supposed to set an example.
Trump – “Many people are getting this disease… everybody is working hard to get this thing out of our country.” The President also pointed to the current spikes in Europe, and referenced current statistics across the globe.
Savannah – She questioned the rhetoric of the White House saying that we are turning the corner and asked whether or not the president supports herd immunity.
Trump – “The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself,” responded the president. The president went on to criticise the lockdowns of Democratic states. He provided no clear response to herd immunity.
Savannah – She moved on the conversation from COVID to saying the president has refused to denounce White supremacy. It is important to note the president has in fact denounced White supremacy many times.
Trump – “I’ve denounced White Supremacy for years… You didn’t ask Joe Biden whether or not he denounces ANTIFA.”
Savannah – “Sometimes it feels like you are hesitant to do so.”
Trump – “I denounce white supremacy, what is your next question?” the president said pointedly. He did not denounce QAnon, claiming that he did not know what it was, adding that just because Ms. Guthrie explained it to him “What you tell me doesn’t necessarily make it fact.” He also added that he denounces ANTIFA.
Savannah – The next question was regarding whether or not he will accept peaceful transfer of power.
Trump – “They talk about a peaceful transfer right… the answer is yes I will, but I want it to be an honest election.”
First voter question: “If you knew COVID-19, as you told Bob Woodward in February, was airborne and deadlier than the flu, why did you only put in place a travel ban from China, and not put in place other measures mitigating other measures?”
Trump – The president touted his initiating of the travel ban early. He reiterated his desire to not panic the American people. “You have to be safe, you have to be vigilant, and you have to be smart.”
Second voter question: “How are you going to get the United States back on track, both in terms of the economy and the pandemic.”
Trump – Trump stated that the administration has brought back 11.4 million jobs and stated that there should be a good third quarter jobs reporting. He also claimed the current unemployment rate is at 7.8%, while many were worried it would be over 42%.
Third voter question: “How has your opinion changed on the importance of mask wearing?”
Trump – He said that he was always okay with the mask. “I say wear the mask.” He also brought up that there is much competing research on the issue.
Fourth voter question: “What is your plan now, in 2020, to make healthcare more affordable?”
Trump – Trump touted that the administration repealed the individual mandate and stated that he wanted to replace Obamacare with more affordable healthcare. “We will always protect people with pre-existing conditions,” the president said.
Fifth voter question: “Why not use your office to make the second stimulus payment a separate targeted emergency relief package?”
Trump – The president blamed Speaker Pelosi for the reason a stimulus bill has not been passed. “Nancy Pelosi, we are ready to sign and pass stimulus,” the President said. He also mentioned that his tweets were focused on negotiation.
Sixth voter question: “What do you say to those Americans to tell them why you want the corporate tax rate lowered?”
Trump – President Trump mentioned that under his administration there are now 160 million jobs.
Savannah – She asked the President who he owes $421 million dollars to.
Trump – The president simply stated that what he owes is a percentage of his net worth, but refused to answer the actual number. He also said he was “extremely under-levered.” He also admitted that he was under audit and that he had no reason to release his tax returns previously. He said that this is very routine.
Seventh voter question: “What do you say to a voter who thinks it’s hypocritical to act in that matter and that they can’t trust Republican’s word?” (asked in reference to the Supreme Court nominee).
Trump – President Trump’s response was that a president is nominated for a period of four years, not anything shorter, and he has the right to nominate her. He also mentioned the 29 times in history this has happened.
Savannah – Savannah asked why his position changed from 2016 with Merrick Garland.
Trump – “The whole ballgame changed when I saw the way they treated Justice Kavanaugh,” Trump mentioned regarding why he nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett. When asked whether or not he expected Judge Barrett to rule in his favor, should the 2020 election be fought in the Supreme Court he said, “It would be totally up to her…. I never talked to her about it.”
Eighth voter question: “If Roe v Wade is ultimately overturned in the future, what protections would be put in place or kept for where the mother’s life is in jeopardy in relation to high risk pregnancies?”
Trump – He replied that he’s never spoken to his previous appointments about decisions they would make, and he will not do so going forward. “I think depending on what happens with Roe v. Wade… perhaps it could get sent down to the states… perhaps nothing could happen,” said the President. When asked what his preference is he said that he would “like to see a brilliant jurist… make a decision.” The president avoided answering about his direct opinion on Roe v. Wade.
Ninth voter question: “What will you and your administration do to better prepare our law enforcement officers to work in collaboration with the communities that they serve and also to protect the lives of innocent black and latinos?”
Trump – Trump touted his accomplishments with criminal justice reform, prison reform, funding for HBCU’s and opportunity zones.
Tenth voter question: “If you are elected to a second term do you expect to pursue your previous efforts to cut the DACA program?”
Trump – He said that they are going to take care of the Dreamers but that they are negotiating immigration reform. “They have to come in through a merit system and they have to come in legally,” he said. He said that they got rid of catch and release, a program he was not fond of.
Trump ended with his tax cuts, a good economy, rebuilding the military and saying that “next year is going to be better than ever before.”
Check back soon for a recap on Joe Biden’s town hall.