US President Donald Trump pointed to CNN’s Jim Acosta and accused him of “fake news” while taking questions during a news conference following the midterm congressional elections on Tuesday at the White House in Washington, November 7, 2018.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
It may not be unusual for a leading presidential candidate to sit down for a live interview with a major television news network.
But when the candidate is former President Donald Trump – whose public remarks are frequent smeared with lies — and the network is one he has repeatedly denounced as “fake news,” the booking is sure to raise eyebrows.
Trump was scheduled to appear Wednesday night on CNN for a live town hall in New Hampshire. The event, set for 8 pm ET, will be moderated by “CNN This Morning” anchor Kaitlan Collins and will feature a live audience of Republicans and undeclared voters questioning the GOP front-runner.
The town hall marked Trump’s first appearance on the network since the 2016 presidential campaign, according to CNN. Since then, Trump has trashed the network, its ratings, its leadership and many of its on-air personalities.
But following a change in leadership at CNN and amid a reported ratings fellthe network seems to have decided to give Trump another chance.
“He’s the Republican frontrunner. He should be in,” Warner Bros. said. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, whose company owns CNN, about Trump on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” last week.
The decision raised concerns from Trump critics, which argues that giving the former president a live platform to spread misinformation ignores the lessons the media learned during his presidency. Some of them have too accused new CNN CEO Chris Licht in an effort to woo a more focused audience as part of his overhaul of the network.
The timing only heightens the controversy. The town hall came a day after a New York jury found Trump liable for sexual harassment and defamation in a civil suit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll.
The jury ordered Trump to pay Carroll $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
It is far from clear whether the outcome of that trial, which Trump refuted in a stream of social media posts Tuesday night and which his lawyer has promised to appeal, will affect his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Trump, who lost his 2020 reelection bid to President Joe Biden, still appears to be the de facto head of the Republican Party — though his would-be main rivals have mostly muted reactions to the jury’s damning verdict.
Trump appeared to mock CNN before the town hall, suggesting in a social media post that the network booked him “because they’re rightly desperate to get those amazing (TRUMP!) ratings back .”
“It could be the beginning of the New & Vibrant CNN, with no more Fake News, or it could be a disaster for everyone, including me. Let’s see what happens?” Trump wrote.
This is developing news. Please check back for updates.