Guthrie piqued Trump on multiple occasions during the town hall event, including pressing him on the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory — which claims a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles have infiltrated the highest-ranks of the federal government — which Trump refused to disavow even though it has been deemed a domestic terrorism threat by the FBI.
Trump claimed to “know nothing about QAnon,” despite Guthrie laying out its outlandish tenants to him. The once fringe conspiracy theory has increasingly found a home in corners of GOP politics and become a thorny issue for mainstream conservatives.
“I just don’t know about QAnon,” Trump said. “Why aren’t you asking me about antifa? Why aren’t you asking me about the radical left? I condemn pedophilia.”
Trump continued to fume Friday about Guthrie’s questioning style.
“I told you that,” Trump said imitating her. “She told me — oh okay, I’ll believe you, right?”
Trump also lashed out at George Stephanopoulos, who moderated a dueling town hall with Democratic nominee Joe Biden in Philadelphia at the same time Thursday night, for not pressing the Democtatic nominee about allegations against his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine.
“I understand they didn’t ask him a question about this, can you believe that?” he said.
More people tuned into Biden’s event than the president’s, even though it appeared on multiple sister cable channels in addition to broadcasting on NBC, according to Nielsen ratings released Friday. CNN reported Friday that ABC averaged 13.9 million viewers during Biden’s town hall, compared to about 13 million for Trump across three channels — NBC, MSNBC and CNBC.
NBC averaged 10.6 million viewers during Trump’s town hall, MNSNC had 1.74 million and a little over 670,000 watched it on CNBC.
Preliminary TV ratings for the two events put out Friday morning showed that millions more people watched Biden’s town hall, with 12.7 million people watching the Democratic town hall on ABC compared to 10.4 million for Trump’s. Those initial figures do not factor in people who watched on other television outlets, such as MSNBC, or online.
Trump said Friday that he “didn’t watch” Biden’s event but nonetheless opined on parts of it, saying Stephanopoulos’ questions were “softballs” compared to those the ABC News host posed to him at a town hall a month ago.
“He’s a tough guy,” Trump said Friday. “But this is the hottest subject there is, didn’t ask him one question about the corruption in the family. Didn’t ask him one question about how big tech is protecting him.”
Trumps remarks came not at a campaign rally but an official event ostensibly to announce a deal with CVS and Walgreens to administer a future coronavirus vaccine to seniors and long-term care facility employees at no out-of-pocket expense. It’s one of a number of instances of the president bending the office to aid his waning reelection prospects.
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