Trump’s CNN Town Hall and Rumble

By Al Perrotta Published on May 10, 2023

CNN hosted Former President Donald Trump Wednesday night for a town hall with New Hampshire voters. Well, actually, it was two simultaneous events. One was a town hall where real voters asked real questions of real import. The other was host Kaitlan Collins demonstrating what would happen if Jim Acosta and Joy Behar ever procreated.

How Not to Host a Former President

Collins’ harping, her brattiness, her repetitiveness, her shrillness, her insistence on facts contrary to evidence, her outright deceptions, her simplistic declarations, her questions designed with the sole purpose of creating campaign talking points, her downright belligerent attitude finally lead Trump to declare, “You’re a nasty person, I tell ya’.”

Even the audience started to groan and laugh at her snarky antics. Collins would have been much better served moderating … asking tough, but fair questions, then getting out of the way. Instead she was, in Revolver’s words, a “narcissistic disaster.” In any event, she’s no Megyn Kelly.

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If CNN was hoping to show viewers, particularly disgruntled Fox News viewers, they had turned a new leaf toward more balanced coverage, they failed miserably. And because Trump managed to flip even her toughest assaults, making her look at times incredibly shallow, even Democrats knew it was a disaster.

(How bad? There’s even an unconfirmed report CNN cut the town hall short. The broadcast was slotted for 90 minutes, with the actual town hall going about 75 minutes. The town hall went less than 70. We’ll see if that story pans out.)

Sure, Collins was going to deny (despite the overwhelming evidence) that there was “any” election fraud in 2020. Sure, she was going to go after Trump for J6, even denying Nancy Pelosi had any responsibility for security at the Capitol. I mean, she’s been waiting two years to jump on Trump for his election claims and J6.

But let’s give three examples of Collins failure to read the times and instead played partisan games with important topics.


A citizen asked a fair question: “Would you continue to arm Ukraine?”

Trump gave what has become his common answer, bemoaning about how the U.S. is shelling out many times more money than NATO countries that are right there in the region. He then repeated his boast that he could end the war in 24 hours. You see, “They both have weaknesses, and the both have strengths.”

But Collins wanted a campaign issue. “Do you want Ukraine to win?”

Trump gave a beautiful answer … again with his eye toward negotiating a peace, being a neutral arbiter:

But Collins would not accept that. She repeated several times “Do you want Ukraine to win?”

Similarly, she asked whether Trump thought Putin was a war criminal. Trump calmly responded that he wasn’t going to say that because that would making reaching peace harder.

Dang it, Mr. President, it’s more important for Democrats and Washington Elites to be able to shout “Putin-loving Trump wants Ukraine to lose” than it is to end the killing and mindless suffering!


Here again, a voter asked a legitimate question: With Title 42 ending, what would you do to stop the flow of illegal migrants?

That’s no rhetorical question. At this hour, some 700,000 people — with millions more to follow — ready to pour over the border, overwhelming our towns, our social services, bringing all manner of chaos, disease and heaven knows what terrorist carnage.

Yet, what to do about that, or the fentanyl, or the human and child trafficking, our national sovereignty, held no interest to Collins. She wanted to flip the clock back five years and bug Trump about whether he’d reinstitute the family separation policy. And I mean, bug him several times about it. As if that’s important, relative to what was set to happen today. But again, “Trump is cruel” as a campaign theme is worth more than the lives about to be lost or ruined.

By the way, Trump answered in the affirmative, saying the policy deters families from coming.

Collins also repeated over and over and over again that Trump only built 52 miles of new “wall.” Didn’t want to hear anything about Trump rebuilding hundreds of miles of border fencing that was useless.

After the … gee, I was going to say “debate” … town hall, Trump’s team retweeted a 2020 tweet from Customs and Border Control.

The former president also had a dire prediction for the end of Title 42: “Tomorrow will be a day of infamy.”


On abortion, Collins wanted one thing: For Trump to say he would sign a federal law banning abortion. But Trump wasn’t playing. He took credit for overturning Roe v. Wade, saying that it now gave the pro-life side a strong bargaining position. That he’d be looking a deal that would make everyone happy. Of course, making everyone happy when abortion is the topic is impossible.

Collins kept pressing, knowing that saying he’d sign a federal law banning abortion would be used to rally female voters. 

Trump made the powerful point more than once that the pro-abortion forces are the radical ones. “People that will kill a baby in the 9th month, or the 8th month or the 7th month, or after the baby is born — They’re the radicals, not the pro-lifers.”

Other Topics

Trump was asked what would be the first thing he’d do to stop inflation. Three word answer: “Drill, baby, drill.”

Understandably, Collins asked about Tuesday’s civil verdict against him in the E. Jean Carroll case. Trump was adamant: “I swear on my children – which I never do – I have no idea who this woman is. This is a fake story.” He had to twice remind Collins that the jury rejected the rape allegation.

He also spun out a version of Carroll’s claims that made them sound so ridiculous the audience couldn’t help but chuckle. How Carroll talked about their instant chemistry after meeting near the front door, that they went to a dressing room “near the cash registers” and how she found one that happened to be unlocked. “What kind of a woman meets somebody … and within minutes, you’re playing hanky panky in the dressing room?”

Then perhaps as a deflection, Collins then harped on the 2005 Access Hollywood tape … like that’s a thing in 2023.

Trump was asked if he would pardon the J6 prisoners. “Many,” he promised, to cheers.

Trump was asked about the mass shootings. Collins wanted to talk about what further gun restrictions he would enact. Instead, Trump spoke of mental illness.

Collins Ends With the Least Interesting Question …

Imagine you have former President Donald Trump on the stage with you. You’ve got one last chance at a question. You have not asked about the threat from China. Supply chain issues. COVID masks, lockdowns or vaccines. Hot topics like the threat of Artificial Intelligence or the dangers of TikTok or “gender affirming care.” Political questions like “What would you do different? What did you learn?” Or even fun topics like the coronation, or Fox News dumping Tucker Carlson or Trump’s new book of letters from celebrities and statesmen.

So what do you ask to close out the town hall?

If you’re Kaitlan Collins you ask a leading, meaningless question. “If you get the nomination and lose will you accept the results of the election?” 

Trump’s answer, which he was forced to repeat several times, was “Sure, if it’s an honest election.”

As if that’s not the honest answer of any politician.

A Final Thought

There’s no way to spin the CNN town hall but as a great night for Donald Trump and a bad night for the CNN host who still thinks its 2017 and berating Trump is the cool thing to do. Too many people are hurting and fearful and dealing with too much nonsense to have patience for that. Of course, CNN itself won’t be too disappointed because the ratings should be lit.

People like AOC are furious at CNN for giving Trump the platform. One where he shined. For one, they’re fascists who hate free speech, particularly opposition speech. Two, their hatred of Trump knows no bounds. But there’s another reason. They recognized, like millions of Democratic and Independent viewers who watched the town hall, all the good, the bad, the ugly, “There’s no way Joe Biden could do something like this.”  


Al Perrotta is the Managing Editor of The Stream, chief barista for The Brew and co-author, with John Zmirak, of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration. You can follow him at @StreamingAl at GETTRGabParler, and now at TRUTH Social.

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