Former President Donald Trump on Thursday defended the network he once labeled “fake news.”
On Wednesday, CNN aired a town hall in New Hampshire with Trump, the GOP front-runner in the 2024 presidential race, that led to extensive media outrage.
While liberal pundits fumed, however, the network drew more than 3 million people for the event, according to The Hill, far above anything CNN has been attracting lately in the 8 p.m. time slot taken up by the town hall.
Trump said the liberal network had made a wise decision.
“People are criticizing CNN for giving me a Forum to tell the TRUTH,” the former president posted on his Truth Social platform. “I believe it was a very smart thing that they did, with Sky High Ratings that they haven’t seen in a very long time. It was by far the biggest Show of the night, the week, and the month!”
“The Radical Left screamed, ‘Take it down, take it down,’ during the Show, because they saw that I was making so many important points on the Border, Energy Independence, the Afghanistan Catastrophe, Inflation, the Economy, Russia/Ukraine, and so much more. Many minds were changed on Wednesday night by listening to Common Sense, and sheer ‘Brilliance,'” Trump added in a second post.
Not everyone agreed. The Washington Post noted that voices inside CNN and in the liberal media community were gnashing their teeth.
“It should have been a taped interview where you could fact-check him. The audience was laughing at his comments about Jean Carroll. Disgraceful,” the Post quoted a CNN personality it did not name as saying.
That was in reference to a woman who accused Trump of sexually assaulting her and was awarded $5 million in her lawsuit against him.
In the opening monologue of his show, CNN host Anderson Cooper defended his network’s decision to air the Trump town hall but told viewers he understood their outrage over the “disturbing” display.
“You have every right to be outraged today and angry and never watch this network again,” Cooper said.
JUST IN: Anderson Cooper gives wild opening monologue, telling his audience he understands if they never watch CNN ever again.
“You have every right to be outraged today and angry and never watch this network again. But do you think staying in your silo and only listening to… pic.twitter.com/xZXYSwtAoF
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) May 12, 2023
CNN boss Chris Light defended the decision in a call with staff.
“We all know covering Donald Trump is messy and tricky, and it will continue to be messy and tricky, but it’s our job,” Licht said, according to The New York Times.
“I absolutely, unequivocally believe America was served very well by what we did last night,” Licht said.
CNN posted a transcript of the event. Some highlights:
During a back-and-forth over classified documents stored at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Florida, moderator Kaitlan Collins pushed harder than he liked, leading him to remark, “You’re a nasty person, I will tell you.”
Asked if Russian leader Vladimir Putin should be called a war criminal, the former president replied, “I think it’s something that should not be discussed now. It should be discussed later. Because right now we have to get a war — if you say he’s a war criminal, it’s going to be a lot tougher to make a deal to get this thing stopped, because if he’s going to be a war criminal, where people are going to go and grab him and execute him, he’s going to fight a lot harder than he’s fighting, you know, under the other circumstance.”
On the issue of gun control, Trump said there was “a big mental health problem in this country more than anything else.”
“Many people, if they don’t have a gun, they’re not going to be very safe. I mean, if they don’t have a gun – it gives them security,” he said, adding, ”But there are people that, if they didn’t have the privilege of having a gun in some form, they – many of them would not be alive today.”
Regarding the verdict against him in the civil trial brought by Carroll, the former president said, “What kind of a woman meets somebody and brings them up and within minutes, you’re playing hanky-panky in a dressing room, OK?”
When asked about reviving the economy, Trump began by saying, “Drill, baby, drill.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.