Donald Trump blasted CNN‘s Kaitlan Collins‘ as a ‘nasty person,’ slammed writer E. Jean Carroll for her rape accusation, refused to say he lost to Joe Biden in the 2020 election and defended the January 6th rioters.
His 70-minute town hall on Wednesday night was tense from the start and raced from topic to topic at breakneck speed. Neither Trump nor Collins – who famously sparred when he was president and she was a White House reporter – gave an inch, engaging in repeated back and forths on a number of subjects.
The two of them even got up out of their chairs to go at each other in a head on to head on collison of Trump claims and Collins snap backs that made for fiery TV. Voters in the hall didn’t get an opportunity to ask many questions amid the two’s intense tête-à-tête.
Biden got in a swipe at Trump after the event, posting on Twitter: ‘Do you want four more years of that?’
Trump, 76, lost his temper with Collins, 31, when she pressed him as to why he had classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, his home in Palm Beach, Florida, calling her a ‘nasty person.’
He also attacked Carroll for her rape accusation against him – a jury only found him liable for sexual assault and not rape. But Trump repeated his claim he didn’t know her and accused Carroll of ‘hanky-panky.’
His appearance on CNN was his first outside the conservative media bubble since 2020 and comes after his formal launch for another term in the White House. But Trump spent little time during the event talking about Biden or any of his potential rivals for the GOP presidential nomination.
Donald Trump lost his temper with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, calling her a ‘nasty person’
Instead much of the event was filled with his defense of his past actions as president.
The crowd at New Hampshire’s St. Anselm College – made up of Republican primary voters and independent voters – cheered and applaused Trump’s signature moves, which included name calling, taking out props, and dashing off quips at Collins.
At times they felt like an audience at one of Trump’s rallies and he clearly fed off their energy.
His fiercest moments of the night were with Collins, who was his old bete noir in the White House press corps. As president he banned her from some of his events and tried to have her removed from the White House briefing room.
They ended the night on a good note, however. When Collins noted their time was done, Trump shook her hand and told her: ‘Thank you very much Kaitlan. Good job.’
The audience broke in whoops and cheers, jumping to their feet.
‘I like you guys,’ Trump told them. ‘We love New Hampshire.’
Collins and Trump started off fairly genial to one another when the night began with questions about the former president’s false claim he won the 2020 election. But things took a tough turn when the CNN reporter quized him about the classified documents he had in his possession.
Trump argued he was allowed to have the documents under the Presidential Records Act.
‘That’s not what the Presidential Record Act says,’ Collins said, adding she has read the whole law.
Trump then claimed Barack Obama and Joe Biden had documents even though Obama did not. Biden handed his over when he found them.
‘They didn’t raid the house of Joe Biden, they didn’t raid Obama,’ Trump argued. He has repeatedly claimed he is a victim of a weaponized government that is trying to keep him from returning to the White House.
Collins pressed him on the issue, telling him Biden didn’t ignore a subpoena on the issue like Trump did and asked him why he didn’t turn over the requested material.
‘Can I talk? Are you ready?,’ Trump said amid her aggressive questioning.
‘I would like for you to answer the question. That’s why I asked it,’ Collins said.
‘You’re a nasty person, I’ll tell you,’ Trump told her.
Collins ignored his insult and told him: ‘Can you answer why you held on to the documents?’
Their wild exchange continued as Collins pressed him: ‘Do you still have any classified documents?’
‘Are you ready?,’ Trump asked her.
‘Do you?’ she pressed.
‘No, no, I have no classified documents,’ he said but added: ‘They become automatically declassified when I took them.’
He also argued he had every right to take them.
‘I had every right to do it, I didn’t make a secret of it. You know, the boxes were stationed outside the White House, people were taking pictures of it,’ he said.
That was incorrect and Collins told him: ‘No, they did not declassify them.’
‘You don’t know the subject,’ Trump told her.
‘I do know the subject and I do know the facts, Mr. President,’ Collins told him.
Trump accused writer E. Jean Carroll of ‘hanky panky’ in her lawsuit against him
Joe Biden’s reaction to the CNN town hall: ‘Do you want four more years of that?’
TRUMP: ACCUSES E. JEAN CARROLL OF ‘HANKY-PANKY’
Collins also pressed Trump about Tuesday’s verdict in New York that found he was liable for the sexual assault of Carroll at a department story in the 1990s. Trump has denied the charge. The town hall was his first public appearance since the verdict, where he ws ordered to pay $5 million in damages.
‘What do you say to voters who say it disqualifies you from being president?,’ Collins asked him.
‘There weren’t too many of them because my numbers just – they went up,’ Trump said as the audience cheered and applauded.
The former president repeated his claim he didn’t know Carroll and then proceeded to insult her repeatedly – accusing her of ‘hanky panky,’ claiming she has a cat called ‘Vagina’ and that she called her husband an ‘ape.’ He slammed U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who was appointed to the job by President Bill Clinton.
‘This woman, I don’t know her. I never met her. I have no idea who she is. I had a picture taken years ago with her and her husband, nice guy John Johnson. He was a newscaster, very nice. She called him an ape, happens to be African American. Called him an ape,’ Trump claimed.
‘The judge wouldn’t allow us to put that in. Her dog or her cat was named Vagina, the judge wouldn’t allow to put that in,’ he added.
‘We had a horrible Clinton appointed judge. He allowed her to put everything in,’ he said.
Trump also launched into a recounting of Carroll’s claims in a mocking voice, drawing laughs from the audience. He referred to Carroll as ‘a wack job.’
Trump also said of Carroll: ‘What kind of a woman meet somebody and brings them up and within minutes you’re playing hanky-panky in a dressing room, I don’t know if she was married then or not. John Johnson, I feel sorry for you.’
Collins also asked Trump if he wanted to take back comments he made during a taping of Access Hollywood, where he talked about grabbing women by the p**** and said famous people were allowed to do things like that.
‘I said women let you, I didn’t say you grab… I said women let — you know, you didn’t use that word — but if you look, women let you,’ Trump said.
‘Now, they said will you take that back? I said, look, for a million years this is the way it’s been. I want to be honest this is the way it’s been,’ he added.
”You would like me to take that back. I can’t take it back because it happens to be true,’ he noted.
Donald Trump during CNN’s 70 minute town hall
During the event, he and Collins went head-to-head on Trump’s false claim he won the 2020 election, the situation at the Southern border, the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the war in the Ukraine.
Outside the hall, small group of anti-Trump protesters gathered. Their signs included messages like ‘Nobody is above the law’ and ‘Elections not insurrection.’
But inside, the talk was hot and the crowd ate it up.
Here’s more of the drama:
TRUMP REFUSES TO SAY HE LOST 2020 ELECTION
Trump doubled down on his false claim he won the 2020 presidential contest over Joe Biden and said only ‘stupid people’ thought it was a fair election.
‘I think that when you look at that result and when you look at what happened during that election, unless you’re a very stupid person, you see what a lot of the people in this audience and probably maybe a couple that don’t, but most people understand what happened. That was a rigged election,’ Trump said.
He made that claim several times during the event.
‘The election was not rigged, Mr. President. You cannot keep saying that all night long,’ Collins told him.
Collins pressed him hard as to why he won’t acknowledge Biden’s victory: ‘It’s been nearly two and a half years. Can you publicly acknowledge that you did lose the 2020 election?’
Trump refused to back down, saying there was evidence of ballot stuffing and people voting mulitple times. There has never been proof given of this. Multiple recounts and lawsuits confirmed Biden’s victory.
A voter in the audience asked Trump if he would drop the election fraud claims during the 2024 contest.
‘Yes, unless I see election fraud,’ he said.
‘Let’s just win it again and straighten out our country,’ he added as the audience applauded.
And when Collins’ repeatedly asked him if he will accept the results of the upcoming 2024 presidential election, Trump said: ‘If I think it’s an honest election I would be honored to.’
When asked again, he repeated: ‘If it’s an honest election I will.’
Trump faced aggressive questioning from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins
Donald Trump repeatedly refused to say he lost the 2020 election – above Jill and Joe Biden with Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff at the Democratic National Convention in 2020
TRUMP: I’M INCLINED TO PARDON MANY JAN. 6 RIOTERS
Trump also defended his actions on January 6th, when he spoke to supporters on the National Mall that morning.
‘They were there with love in their heart. That was an unbelievable and it was a beautiful day,’ he said of his rally. ‘And what I was asked to do — I wasn’t involved in it very much. I was asked to come in and would I make a speech. I made a speech and I said walk peacefully and patriotically.’
He then blamed the insurrection on Nancy Pelosi, who was speaker at the time.
‘Nancy Pelosi — crazy Nancy as I affectionately call her. Crazy Nancy and the mayor of Washington D.C. were in charge of capitol security,’ he said. The speaker is not in charge os security of the Capitol.
As Collins pressed him on his actions that day Trump reached into his suit jacket’s innner pocket and pulled out a sheave of papers to cite his old tweets.
‘Let me pull it out. I have to pull it out,’ he said of the notes. The audience applauded and cheered.
‘So if you look at on January 5th – the day before – I said please support our capitol police and law enforcement, they are truly are on the side of our country, stay peaceful. Stay peaceful. This was the day before, and this was in the form of Twitter,’ he said.
He then noted a video – that he made late in the day hours after the insurrection started – asking his supporters to go home. And he got in a hit at Biden.
‘If you remember I made a video right outside the Oval Office in the rose garden, and I’m very proud of that video. I didn’t have a script. I don’t need a script unlike a certain person in there right,’ he said in reference to the current president.
He also said he was inclined to pardon many of the rioters. Hundreds of them face federal charges.
‘I am inclined to pardon many of them,’ he said.
Trump noted that he won’t be able to pardon ‘every single one’ but said ‘it will be a large portion of them.’
Trump pulled out a sheet of his old tweets to argue with Collins about his actions on Jan. 6
Trump says he’s included to pardon many of the rioters on January 6th
TRUMP: WON’T APOLOGIZE TO MIKE PENCE
Trump also refused to say he owed his Vice President Mike Pence an apology.
The MAGA supporters who rushed the Capitol were searching for Pence with some threatening to hang him. Trump claimed Pence had the power to send the election results back to the states.
Pence, who as vice president serves as president of the Senate, has a purely ceremonial role to oversee the counting of the electoral college votes.
‘He did something wrong,’ Trump said of Pence. ‘He should’ve put the votes back to the state legislatures and I think we would’ve had a different outcome.’
Congress also strengthened election law in the wake of the January 6th insurrection and clarified the vice president’s ceremonial role.
Trump used that to argue he was right.
‘Kaitlan, why did they change the law then?’
‘They didn’t change the law. They strengthened the law,’ she said.
‘Oh, they strengthened it meaning you could do it’ Trump said as the crowd cheered him on. ‘Thank you,’ he told them.
Mike Pence in the Capitol on January 6th – he had the purely ceremonial role of overseeing the count of the electoral college
TRUMP: WON’T SAY IF UKRAINE OR RUSSIA SHOULD WIN
Trump wouldn’t say if he wanted Ukraine or Russia to win the war taking place there.
‘I don’t think in terms of winning and losing. I think in terms of getting it settled so we stop killing all these people,’ he said to great applause.
‘If I’m president, I will have that war settled in one day, 24 hours,’ he bragged.
When pressed he said he just wants ‘everyone to stop dying.’
He also praised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying Zelensky ‘backed me up with a phony impeachment, impeachment hoax number one.’
‘I was totally exonerated, by the way,’ he added.’
Collins pointed out: ‘You were impeached over that. You were impeached over that.’
‘I was impeached by a crazy woman named Nancy Pelosi,’ Trump said.
He said, if he wins the White House next year, he would meet with Zelensky and Vladimir Putin to settle the war.
‘They both have weaknesses and both have strengths and within 24 hours that war with be settled,’ Trump noted.
He wouldn’t say Putin was a war criminal but conceded the Russian president ‘made a tremendous mistake.’
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at their now infamouse press conference in Helsinki in 2018
TRUMP: SLAMS BIDEN’S HANDLING OF BORDER
Trump also slammed Biden’s handling of the situation on the Southern border.
Trump’s Title 42 – which allowed officials to turn back migrants due to the COVID pandemic – expires on Thursday. There is expected to be a rush of migrants crossing the border.
‘Look at what’s happening at our southern border,’ Trump said. ‘Millions of people are coming in. They’re being released from prisons. They’re being released from mental institutions, and we have millions of people pouring into our country, and now they’re getting rid of Title 42, which I put on, which kept people out.’
‘This is my policy that they’re letting terminate because they lost in court,’ he noted. ‘You’re going to have millions of people pouring into our country, right now, at a level that nobody has ever seen before.’
He also defended his border wall, which was not completed under his presidency.
‘I built hundreds of miles of wall and I finished it. I started another hundred miles of wall and then—we had a rigged election,’ he said.
Collins pointed out he didn’t build that much.
‘This is what she does,’ Trump exclaimed.
Migrants cross the Rio Grande river into the United States from Matamoros, Mexico
TRUMP: WON’T SAY IF HE SUPPORTS A FEDERAL ABORTION BAN
Trump wouldn’t say whether he would sign a federal abortion ban if he became president again in 2024.
But, he argued, those against abortion are ‘in a very good negotiating position right now’ because of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
Trump said he would ‘make a determination what he thinks is great for the country and what’s fair for the country’ when asked if he would sign the ban.
He took credit for the Supreme Court ruling, however, noting he appointed three of the justices who joined in the majority ruling, saying ‘it was such a great victory and people are starting to understand it now.’
He said of his own beliefs: ‘I happen to believe in the exceptions, the life of the mother, rape, incest like Ronald Reagan believed in.’
He also wouldn’t say at what point in a pregnancy he thinks an abortion should be illegal.
‘I’ve given the answer four times tonight. I’m looking at a solution that’s going to work,’ he said on the issue.
Many Republican-led states have outlawed abortions after the Supreme Court ruling last year, including Florida. Its governor, Ron DeSantis, is expected to throw his hat in the GOP presidential race in the coming months.
President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy meet in the White House on Tuesday to discuss debt negotiations
TRUMP: WARNS COUNTRY COULD GO INTO DEFAULT
Trump warned the country will go into default if Republicans don’t get massive spending cuts they passed in a debt ceiling extension package at the end of April. But that package is dead upon arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
‘We have to start paying off debt,’ said Trump. ‘I say to the Republicans out there – congressmen, senators – if they don’t give you massive cuts, you’re going to have to do a default.’
Biden is negotiating with Speaker Kevin McCarthy to try and avoid the first default in the nation’s history.
Trump, who repeatedly approved debt limit increases as president, said the limit shouldn’t be used as leverage to negotiate.
‘That’s when I was president,’ Trump said.
‘So why is it different now when you’re out of office?’ Collins asked.
‘Because now I’m not president,’ Trump answered, to laughter and applause.
Trump went on to say that he doesn’t believe Congress will allow a default because the Democrats will ‘cave.’
‘Because you don’t want to have that happen, but it’s better than what we’re doing right now because we’re spending money like drunken sailors.’
TRUMP: LEADS IN POLLS FOR REPUBLICAN NOMINATION
Trump is the leading contender for the GOP presidential nomination – and a poll this weekend showed him beating President Joe Biden in the general election.
He appearance on CNN is his first since before the 2016 election.
Trump has long had a fraught relationship with CNN, which he derided as ‘fake news’ as president, even though former exec Jeff Zucker helped give him his start on ‘the Apprentice.’
He was questioned Collins, who his staff tried to bump from her seat in the White House briefing room amid tense relations between Trump and the press generally.
The then-president also – at one point – banned Collins from one of his appearances in the White House Rose Garden in 2018 when he got upset with her shouted questions in the Oval Office earlier in the day.
In 2019, he mocked the journalist when she pressed him on the US-Mexico border wall.
‘You ran your campaign promising supporters that Mexico is going to pay for the wall,’ Collins began before Trump interrupted her. ‘Oh here we go again,’ he said.
‘And that wall was going to be made of concrete,’ Collins continued. ‘You just said earlier that the wall could be made of steel and right now our government is shut down over a demand from your administration that the American taxpayer pay for the wall. So how can you say that you are not failing on that promise to your supporters?’
‘A very nice question so beautifully asked, even though I just answered it,’ Trump replied.
‘I just told you that we just made a trade deal. We will take in billions and billions of dollars, far more than the cost of the wall, he said.
Donald Trump and CNN’s Kaitlan Collins at the start of the town hall
And former Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who voted for Trump’s second impeachment when she was in the House and sat on a committee looking into his actions during the January 6th insurrection, launched a television ad against him on Tuesday,
Tha ad, airing on CNN before and after the Trump town hall meeting, warning viewers that the former president ‘is a risk America can never take again.’
Cheney narrates the 60-second ad but does not appear in it. It is funded by her political action committee.
TRUMP: FACING MULTIPLE LEGAL ISSUES
Trump’s appearance at the town hall comes the day after a New York jury found him liable for sexually abusing writer E. Jean Carroll in 1996, awarding her $5 million in damages. Jurors rejected Carroll’s claim she was raped, but found Trump liable for sexual abuse and for defaming Carroll after she made her allegations public.
He’s also facing other investigations.
Trump, last month in New York, pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records tied to an alleged hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
He also faces an investigation in Georgia, where the Fulton County district attorney plans to announce charges this summer from the investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election in the Peach State.
Trump is under two investigations from the Justice Department: one tied to his actions trying overturn the 2020 election and one tied to the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.
People protest outside a building on the campus of Saint Anselm College hosting a CNN televised town hall gathering with former President Donald Trump
Trump supporters outside the hall where the town hall will take place
Protesters were waiting outside the hall
In the Carroll case, jurors debated about three hours before coming to their verdict.
Trump chose not to attend the civil trial and was absent when the verdict was read.
But he responded in an angry post on his Truth Social platform.
‘I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO THIS WOMAN IS,’ Trump wrote in all caps on his Truth Social web site. ‘THIS VERDICT IS A DISGRACE – A CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME!’
And his campaign said in a statement: ‘Make no mistake, this entire bogus case is a political endeavor targeting President Trump because he is now an overwhelming front-runner to be once again elected President of the United States.’
Carroll told the jury Trump attacked her inside a Bergdorf Goodman department store in 1995 or 1996, in a version of events the jury at least partly believed even as Trump was quoted as calling it a hoax.
Trump’s statement that he didn’t know the identity of Carroll came after he failed to properly identify her in a photo in what may have been a key moment of the trial.
During his videotaped deposition, Carroll lawyer Roberta Kramer had Trump look at a black and white image to identify the group, which included himself.
When asked to identify a woman in the photo, Trump responded: ‘That’s Marla, that’s my wife.’
It was only with the help of his lawyer, Alina Habba, that Trump figured out it is in fact Carroll.
‘I don’t even know who the woman. Let’s see, I don’t know who – it’s Marla,’ said Trump.
Carroll bowed her head as the verdict in the battery allegation was read out. As the defamation verdict was read she bowed it again, nodding in agreement. Afterwards she stood up and shook hands with Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina.
Carroll left court beaming from ear to ear without making a statement to the media, but was heard saying to the crowd, ‘We’re very happy.’
Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct or assault by more than two dozen women, but this has so far been the only case to end up before a jury, casting another shadow over Trump’s 2024 Presidential campaign
Carroll, 79, sued for battery under the Adult Survivors Act, a law passed in New York that allowed a one year window for sexual assault claims normally outside of the statute of limitations.
Her claim for defamation was based on statements made by Trump, 76, when he was President in which he called her a liar.
On Wednesday morning, E. Jean took her victory lap on the morning breakfast TV shows, appearing on Good Morning America and the TODAY show
Trump supporters welcome him to New Hampshire
Trump Force One at the Manchester, N.H., airport
‘I feel fantastic! Yesterday was probably the greatest day of my life,’ she gleefully told ABC’S George Stephanopoulos.
Carroll said she only ever brought the action against Trump for damages after he ‘dragged her through the mud’.
‘I only decided to come forward and tell what happened. I thought that was enough.
‘Then he said terrible things about me, dragged me through the mud, ground my face in the dirt. It was horrible. So I talked to Robbie Kaplan and Robbie and I brought a lawsuit against Donald Trump.
‘And yesterday, despite prosecutors and special counsels and investigators and piling all these legal snarls up to Trump, it was this 5ft 3, wily female attorney and this elderly 79-year-old advice columnist who are finally holding Donald Trump liable.’
She continued her victory lap on NBC’s TODAY.
‘I am overwhelmed, overwhelmed with joy and happiness and delight for the women in this country.’
She believes her case ‘demolished’ the stereotype of the concept of a ‘perfect’ sexual assault victim.
‘Before yesterday there was a concept of the perfect victim, who always screams, always reports to the police, always makes notes of when it happened, and their life folds up and they’re never supposed to be happy.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12070465/Trump-calls-E-Jean-Carroll-sexual-abuse-claims-hanky-panky.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Trump calls E. Jean Carroll sexual abuse claims ‘hanky panky’