President TrumpDonald John TrumpTwitter CEO calls blocking New York Post article without explanation ‘unacceptable’ Michael Cohen writing second book on Trump administration’s Justice Department As Trump downplayed the virus publicly, memo based on private briefings sparked stock sell-offs: NYT MORE on Thursday tore into NBC hours before appearing on the network for a town hall forum, preemptively complaining that he would be treated unfairly.
The president indicated he didn’t mind agreeing to do the town hall because it amounted to “a free hour on television.” But he previewed the event during a rally in North Carolina by swiping at moderator Savannah Guthrie and other network anchors.
“So you know, I’m being set up tonight, right. I’m doing this town hall with Con-cast,” Trump said, mocking the name of NBC’s parent company. “So I’m doing it and it’s NBC. The worst.”
Trump mocked network anchor Lester Holt and political director Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddChuck Todd indirectly refers to former colleague Olbermann as ‘somebody from the very far left’ of the media world Trump campaign defends lack of COVID-19 precautions before president’s diagnosis Aide says Trump campaign doesn’t want remote debates MORE, while lamenting that Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenTwitter CEO calls blocking New York Post article without explanation ‘unacceptable’ Cheers erupt as Trump puts on MAGA hat, takes off tie at Iowa rally Hillicon Valley: Twitter lacked adequate cybersecurity protection ahead of July hacks, regulator says | Twitter, Facebook clamp down on New York Post article about Hunter Biden | YouTube bans COVID-19 vaccine misinformation MORE‘s town hall on the network earlier this month was “meant for children.”
“And so they asked me if I’d do it, and I figured what the hell, we’ve got a free hour on television,” Trump said.
“And we have Savannah Guthrie,” he added. “She’s always lovely, isn’t she? But I figure why not.”
The president’s town hall in Florida will take place at the same time as Biden’s town hall in Philadelphia, which is being broadcast on ABC. The dueling events are taking place in lieu of the second presidential debate, which had been scheduled for Thursday night in Miami.
The debate was scrapped after Trump refused to agree to a virtual setup. The Commission on Presidential Debates had announced the debate would be a virtual event after Trump tested positive for COVID-19.
Now, the two men will hold competing events. The overlap has drawn blowback from some NBC talent.
Trump has a long relationship with NBC, which aired “The Apprentice” for 14 seasons. The president has been interviewed by the network’s anchors several times since announcing his first White House bid in 2016.
The decision to forgo a debate this week carries risks for Trump, who is trailing Biden in swing-state polls with less than three weeks until Election Day.
“They’re doing him on ABC,” Trump said Thursday of Biden’s event. “And actually I’d like to watch him because I’d like to see if he can make it through the program.”