Trump sits for CNN town hall on the heels of E. Jean Carroll sex abuse verdict

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Former US President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event on Thursday, April 27, 2023 in Manchester, New Hampshire, US.

Adam Glanzman | Bloomberg | Getty Images

It may not seem unusual for a major presidential candidate to sit down for a live interview with a major television news network.

But when the candidate is a former president Donald Trump – whose public comments are frequent full of lies — and the network is what he has repeatedly denounced as “fake news,” bookings bound to raise eyebrows.

Trump participated in a CNN Live town hall in New Hampshire Wednesday night. Moderated by “CNN This Morning” anchor Kaitlan Collins, a live audience of Republicans and undecided voters asked questions of the GOP frontrunner.

The town hall marked Trump’s first appearance on the network since his 2016 presidential campaign, according to CNN. From that point on, Trump railed against the network, its ratings, its leadership, and many of its on-air personalities.

But after a change in leadership at CNN and between a report rating downgradeThe network has apparently decided to give Trump another chance.

“He’s the Republican frontrunner. He’s got to stay,” warner bros discovery CEO David Zaslav, whose company owns CNN, spoke about Trump on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” last week.

This decision raised the concern of Trump critics, who argue giving the former president a live platform to spread misinformation ignores the lessons learned by the media during his presidency. some of them have accused As part of his overhaul of the network, CNN’s new CEO, Chris Licht, sought to attract a more centrist audience.

E. Jean Carroll leaves Manhattan Federal Court after the verdict in the civil rape allegation case against former US President Donald Trump on May 9, 2023 in New York City.

Brendan McDermid | reuters

Time has only increased the controversy. Town hall comes a day after New York jury found Trump responsible for sexual assault and defamation in a civil case brought by author E. Jean Carroll.

The jury ordered Trump to pay Carroll $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

It is unclear whether the outcome of the trial, which Trump lamented in a stream of social media posts on Tuesday evening and which his attorney has vowed to appeal, will influence his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Trump, who lost his 2020 re-election bid for president Joe Biden, still appears to be the de facto head of the Republican Party. Even his would-be primary rivals reacted mostly mutely to the jury’s disastrous verdict.

Trump appeared to rebuke CNN ahead of the town hall, suggesting in a social media post that the network booked him “because they are desperate to get these great (Trump!) ratings once again.”

“This could be the start of a new and vibrant CNN with no more fake news, or it could turn into a disaster for everyone, including me. Let’s see what happens?” Trump wrote.