Donald Trump was combative and defensive during his town hall meeting with NBC News Thursday night. On that controversial evening, the president went out of his way to answer questions about his COVID testing, taxes, debt, and many other questions.
The hour-long event appeared to be more of a boxing match than an interview as Trump argued with NBC News' Savannah Guthrie about wearing a face mask, denouncing white supremacy and the QAnon conspiracy group.
Guthrie asked more questions than the indecisive voters the evening was devoted to, repeatedly challenging Trump in ways the president typically doesn't experience, as he prefers interviews with friendlier news outlets.
"We're wasting an entire show," he snapped at her when she asked about the retweets on his Twitter feed that contained QAnon conspiracy theories and unproven claims. Seal Team Six killed Osama bin Laden's body twice.
"You're not someone's crazy uncle who can just retweet anything," Guthrie said to him when she pushed the subject.
She kept the President busy with quick questions and repeated follow-up, urging him to answer questions he was trying to distract.
But shortly after the debate ended, Trump's campaign boasted that he had "defeated" opponent Guthrie and said he had "handled her attacks masterfully".
Meanwhile, interviewed by George Stephanopoulos of ABC in Philadelphia in front of an audience of undecided voters, Biden set a far quieter tone.
During the evening, the president appeared to admit that he owed creditors more than $ 400 million, denied knowing about QAnon while commending her for fighting pedophilia, and declined to say if he was on the day of his first Presidential debate tested for COVID.
The City Hall, which replaced the second presidential debate in Miami on Thursday night, had many memorable moments – the most combative and some only unusual.
One of these came when Paulette Dale, described as inclined to vote for Joe Biden, appeared to be flirting with the president. “I have to say you have a great smile. You're so pretty when you smile, ”she said to him. "Thank you," said Trump as the audience applauded.
Donald Trump was combative and defensive during his town hall meeting with NBC News Thursday night. On that controversial evening, the president went out of his way to answer questions about his COVID tests, taxes, debt, and many other questions
"We're wasting an entire show," he snapped at her when she asked about the retweets on his Twitter feed that contained QAnon conspiracy theories and unproven claims. Seal Team Six killed Osama bin Laden's body twice. "You're not someone's crazy uncle who can retweet anything," Guthrie said to him when she pushed the subject
Trump said he felt "fantastic" about the debate and that there was "no problem". "I was in great shape for the debate," he repeated. Pictured: Trump touches the part of his nose during a one-hour live NBC City Hall forum with a group of Florida voters in Miami
The City Hall, which replaced the second presidential debate in Miami on Thursday night, had many memorable moments – the most combative and some only unusual. One of these came when Paulette Dale (left), described as inclined to vote for Joe Biden, appeared to be flirting with the president. “I have to say you have a great smile. You're so pretty when you smile, ”she said to him. "Thank you," said Trump as the audience applauded
The evening began with the president saying he couldn't remember the last time he tested negative for the coronavirus before he was diagnosed on October 3
Interviewed Biden by George Stephanopoulos in Philadelphia in front of an audience of undecided voters on ABC, Biden set a far quieter tone
The evening began with the president saying he couldn't remember the last time he tested negative for the coronavirus before he was diagnosed on October 3.
Trump has been repeatedly pushed down by NBC's Savannah Guthrie and couldn't tell if he was tested for the disease on the day of the first presidential debate with Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
"Did you test the day of the debate?" Guthrie asked him.
& # 39; I don't know. I don't even remember, ”Trump replied.
The president said he isn't being tested for COVID every day. "No, but I do a lot of tests," he said.
The White House has repeatedly refused to respond the last time the president tested negative before testing positive.
Prior to his September 29 debate with Biden, Trump attended two events at the White House – a rose garden ceremony for his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett and an event in the East Room for Gold Star families – that later received positive feedback from several participants COVID tested.
Trump said he felt "fantastic" about the debate and that there was "no problem".
& # 39; I was in great shape for the debate. And only after the debate, like after a certain time, after the debate, ”said Trump, did he feel bad.
Once during a commercial break, Trump took out a handkerchief and patted his nose.
There were large patches on the back of his right hand, suggesting that he is receiving intravenous fluids, despite claiming to be "drug-free" after battling the coronavirus.
Previously, he was seen wearing similar patches on Saturday. They have been placed in a location commonly used to deliver IV fluids or medication. Much less often it could be used as a place to take blood for testing if veins in the arm are difficult to access, a medical expert previously told DailyMail.com.
Trump says "people can decide for themselves" whether or not Osama bin Laden's double body was killed
Earlier this week, Trump re-released a conspiracy theory that the Navy SEAL team that defeated Osama bin Laden actually double-killed his body, so that the team was then killed by the Obama administration.
& # 39; That was a retweet. That was someone's opinion. And that was a retweet, "Trump said when questioned about the tweet during his town hall on NBC News Thursday night.
“I'll get it out of there. People can decide for themselves. I will not take a position, ”the President continued.
City Hall host NBC host Savannah Guthrie, who started the evening by questioning the president on various topics, urged Trump to claim that his retweets were not standing up.
"I don't understand, you're the president," Guthrie urged. "You're not like someone's crazy uncle who can retweet anything."
Earlier this week, Trump re-released a conspiracy theory that the Navy SEAL team that defeated Osama bin Laden actually double-killed his body, so that the team was then killed by the Obama administration
The questions about conspiracies and Trump's refusal to denounce them came after he reposted a tweet questioning the validity of whether SEAL Team Six actually killed Osama bin Laden. The former Navy SEAL (pictured) who shot and killed Bin Laden, defied the QAnon conspiracy theory put forward by Trump on his Twitter that Biden SEAL killed Team Six after the raid
O & # 39; Neill is a Trump fan but got his way against the president because of his retweets of the allegations
"That was a retweet," insisted Trump. “And I do a lot of retweets. And honestly, because the media is so fake and so corrupt if I didn't have social media – I don't call it Twitter, I call it social media – I wouldn't be able to get the word out. & # 39;
The questions about conspiracies and Trump's refusal to denounce them came after he reposted a tweet questioning the validity of whether SEAL Team Six actually killed Osama bin Laden.
The former Navy SEAL who shot bin Laden defeated the QAnon conspiracy theory put forward by Trump on his Twitter that Biden SEAL killed Team Six after the raid.
Robert O & # 39; Neill, 44, performed with Chris Cuomo CNN Wednesday night to express disgust that the "highest ranking person in the country" was "trampling the graves of some of the best heroes" by claiming the team did not kill bin Laden.
The online theory holds that former Navy SEAL Robert O & # 39; Neill only killed one double of bin Laden's in the 2011 raid and that the Obama and Biden administrations were involved in the mission team's assassination in order to cover it up. It is also claimed that bin Laden is still alive.
The idea was developed by QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory that centers on the baseless belief that Trump is secretly fighting enemies in the "deep state" and a child trafficking ring run by satanic pedophiles and cannibals.
Trump says QAnon is "strongly against pedophilia" as he is challenged on conspiracy theory tweets
The president was asked about another conspiracy theory, QAnon, before voters had a chance to ask Trump their questions.
“I wanted to ask you about QAnon – it's this theory that Democrats are a satanic pedophile ring, and you are the savior of it. Now you can find out once and for all that this is completely wrong. So reject QAnon in its entirety, ”Guthrie initiated a controversial exchange with the president.
“I don't know anything about QAnon. I know very little, ”said Trump.
"I just told you," she pressed.
"You told me, but what you tell me doesn't necessarily make it true – I hate to say that," Trump urged back. & # 39; I don't know anything about it. I know they are very much against pedophilia, they fight very hard against it. But I don't know anything about it. & # 39;
Guthrie tried a different approach by calling on Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who had clashed with Trump in the past.
"Republican Senator Ben Sasse said quote QAnon was crazy and real leaders call conspiracy theories, conspiracy theories," she said.
"He can be right," admits Trump.
"Why not just say it's crazy and not true?" she asked about the QAnon conspiracy theory.
“Can I be honest, he may be right. I just don't know about QAnon, ”he repeated.
"You know," she said.
& # 39; I don't know. You tell me all about it, ”he said. “Let's waste the whole show. You started with White Supremacy, I denounce it. You start with something else. Let's go ask me these questions. & # 39;
“But let me just say what I hear about it is that they are very strong against pedophilia. And I agree with that. I mean, I agree, and I strongly agree, ”he said.
Trump also defended his decision not to wear a face mask. "People in masks catch it all the time," he argued. He pointed out that Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam and North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis tested positive despite repeated masks
Donald Trump says his $ 750 bill was "a filing fee" and that he "probably" owes foreign companies as part of his $ 400 million debt – which he calls "very low."
Trump appeared to be confirming key elements of reporting that his 2016 income tax bill was only $ 750 while holding hundreds of millions in debt, despite saying the disclosure of his tax return information was "illegal."
“I think that's a file number. You pay $ 750, it's a filing fee or a filing fee, ”Trump replies, seeming to confirm the assessment that the billionaire paid a fraction of what millions of Americans pay in federal income taxes.
Trump also failed to crush the Times, which, based on years of tax returns, reported that he owed $ 421 million in debt due in his next term, many of them to foreign companies.
“What they did is illegal, number one. In addition, the numbers do not match the published numbers. And just so you understand, if you have a lot of real estate, I have a real estate, you know a lot about it. Okay? & # 39; Trump started.
But then he seemed to confirm the multimillion-dollar debt by telling NBC's Savannah Guthrie it was only a fraction of his net worth, describing himself as "undermined".
Trump pocketed some of his properties, including the Doral Golf Club, which he and intelligence agents often stay at when he visits Florida, as on Thursday.
“Right down the street, Doral. Big things. Great stuff. I'm very underserved – luckily, when I decided to run, I was very underserved. I have very little leverage, ”Trump said, using a word that was similar to the common financial term.
"I have a very, very small percentage of debt in comparison – in fact, I did some of it as favors for institutions that wanted to lend me money," Trump claimed without further explanation.
& # 39; Four hundred million compared to the fortune I have, all of these great properties around the world, and frankly – the Bank of America building in San Francisco. I don't like what happens to San Francisco … ”he said.
Trump said unsolicited, "I don't owe Russia any money," but didn't give a straight answer when asked if he owed foreign companies.
“Not that I know of, but I probably will because it's so easy to solve. And if you want. I'll let you know who – to whom I owe a small amount of money, ”Trump told his interviewer.
President Donald Trump appeared to confirm key elements in reporting his extraordinary income tax bill of $ 750 in 2016, which he called the "filing fee," while apparently confirming that he owes hundreds of millions of dollars but was "very underfunded" is.
The New York Times received a tax return from Trump stating that he paid only $ 750 in income tax on his 2016 tax return, despite claiming to be worth billions at the time
He said it was "a very small amount of money". He added, “It's very straight. It's very, very straight. But it's a tiny percentage of the value. & # 39;
He again declined the opportunity to say he would approve his return if asked. & # 39; I'm being checked. It turns out that I'm being examined, ”Trump said.
He also complained about the IRS, claiming that he was being treated unfairly politically. "No person in their right mind would be released prior to the drafting of the contract with the IRS," he said. & # 39; I'm being treated very badly by the IRS. You treat me very, very badly. You have people from previous administrations who treat me very badly. But we are under examination. It's very routine in many ways. & # 39;
"They like to change the game, change the rules, do anything," he said.
Like four years ago, Trump said he wanted to publish his returns.
“I would like to release it and as soon as we come to a conclusion I will release it. And with pleasure, ”he said.
He said of the Times, “I can tell you that if, as you know, they have my tax returns, they will go to prison. It's illegal. & # 39; Losing personal tax return information is a crime for a government employee, but the Times is not known to own or publish it.
Trump also defended his decision not to wear a face mask.
"People in masks catch it all the time," he argued. He pointed out that Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam and North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis tested positive despite repeated masks.
"They came out recently saying that 85% of people who wear masks catch them," he said.
Trump likely got the number from an article on right news page The Blaze in which 85 percent of respondents who had received COVID-19 wore face-covering "always" or "often".
Mediaite reported that the figure came from a CDC paper that found that 71 percent of COVID-positive study participants said they wear masks frequently in the two weeks leading up to a diagnosis of coronavirus, while another 14 percent said they wear masks frequently to wear.
The newspaper found that a slightly larger group, 74 percent, said they always wear masks and haven't contracted COVID-19.
When asked by Isabella Pena, the daughter of two frontline health workers, whether his mind has changed about wearing a mask after being diagnosed with Covid-19, Trump said no, because I was okay with the masks. I was good with it. & # 39;
"But I've heard a lot of different stories about masks," Trump said. One of many times he spoke of masks as a "two-way" problem.
Trump commented after boarding Air Force One again and performing without a mask at rallies and even coming back to speak to unmasked reporters on a flight Wednesday. Then he told a story that he mentioned in the first presidential debate.
& # 39; People – they bring meals. I recently had a case where a very wonderful person brought me a meal. And he plays with his mask and touches his mask everywhere. And then he brings in a plate. And I say I don't know if that's that good, ”Trump said.
This time he announced that he had refused the meal.
“I didn't eat it, okay? I decided not to eat it. That was a month ago. & # 39;
Trump also defended his decision to get back to work and campaign quickly after COVID. “As president, I have to be out there. I can't be in a basement. I can't be locked in a very nice room in the White House somewhere, ”he said. Pictured: Trump at a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, hours outside his town hall on Thursday
He specifically mentioned the event involving Gold Star families (pictured on September 27), which subsequently saw several senior military personnel being quarantined after some of them tested positive. "I want to see the Gold Star families," Trump said. “I want to see everyone.
Under pressure from Guthrie, Trump defended himself and pointed to disagreements in the early days of the pandemic. Now his team says it could save thousands of lives if more people wore masks.
“Look, you have a story on the masks where they want, a story where they don't. I'm all for it, ”said Trump.
Guthrie brought up a Washington University study that found masks could have a huge impact on reducing deaths.
Trump countered by hitting his controversial advisor, Dr. Scott Atlas, who is not an expert on infectious diseases and who has controversial ideas about herd immunity.
“And then you have other people who disagree. Scott Atkins (Atlas). If you look at Scott, Dr. Scott. He's from a great guy – Stanford. One of the great experts in the world, "said Trump. He was referring to Atlas.
Trump also defended his decision to get back to work and campaign quickly after COVID.
“As president, I have to be out there. I can't be in a basement. I can't be locked in a very nice room in the White House somewhere, ”he said.
He specifically mentioned the event involving Gold Star families, which subsequently saw several senior military personnel being quarantined after some of them tested positive.
"I want to see the Gold Star families," Trump said. "I want to see everyone."
But he said he does not blame the families who lost a loved one in the service of the country for infecting them.
"No, I don't know where it came from," he said. & # 39; You don't know where it came from; Doctors don't know where it came from. & # 39;
The commission offered to hold the debate virtually, but the motion was denied by Trump, who called the proposal a "waste" of his time.
ABC quickly planned a Joe Biden town hall in the same window of time that the virtual debate would have taken place.
After lengthy negotiations, NBC, which made Trump a household name with its series The Apprentice, booked him for a City Hall broadcast at exactly the same time – a planning decision that generated widespread criticism.
In Thursday's letter, the coalition of animators and executives said their criticism was not the result of a partisan question. This is about the political health of our democracy. & # 39;
"We believe that this kind of indifference to the norms and rules of our democracy has put our country in this dangerous state," the letter said.
Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and presenter George Stephanopoulos arrive for an event at ABC News City Hall at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia
ABC quickly planned a Joe Biden town hall in the same window of time that the virtual debate would have taken place
Trump himself spoke about City Hall Thursday evening during a rally in Greenville, North Carolina this afternoon, calling the event "preparation." “So you know I'm going to be set up tonight, don't you?” Trump said to the assembled crowd. “So I'm doing this town hall with Concast – C-O-N, right? Con because it's a Con job. … So I do it and it's NBC. The worst & # 39;
Supporters of President Donald J. Trump gather alongside supporters of Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden as they take part in a demonstration outside the Perez Art Museum, at which U.S. President Donald J. Trump at an NBC News Town Hall in Miami
Trump called NBC City Hall "a joke" with Biden earlier this month, accusing the network of failing to treat both candidates fairly without providing evidence
“We're just asking NBC to air the President's Town Hall either before or after Vice President Biden's so that American voters have a chance to see both.
& # 39; We understand the needs of business, especially at this difficult time. We believe, however, that there are bigger issues of civic responsibility at stake, ”the letter continued.
Among the leaders was Dan Fogelman, the head behind NBC's hit series This Is Us, starring Sterling K. Brown, Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia, who were also named among the signatories.
Also listed among the letter's 105 co-signers are a number of other prominent current and former NBCUniversal stars and producers, including Law & Order: Executive Producer Neal Baer, Special Produims Unit.
Other big names include producer Ryan Murphy, who co-created The New Normal alongside actor-producer Ben Stiller, and Family Guy creator Seth Macfarlane, who recently signed a $ 200 million production deal with NBCU.
Trump himself spoke about City Hall Thursday evening during a rally in Greenville, North Carolina this afternoon, calling the event "preparation."
“So you know I'm going to be set up tonight, don't you?” Trump said to the assembled crowd. “So I'm doing this town hall with Concast – C-O-N, right? Con because it's a Con job. … So I do it and it's NBC. The worst. & # 39;
He also made some sarcastic remarks for the event host, Savannah Guthrie, which he described, in a disingenuous tone, as "always beautiful".
Trump called NBC City Hall "a joke" with Biden earlier this month, accusing the network of failing to treat both candidates fairly without providing evidence.
But he said he was eager to attend the event and described it as "free"; Opportunity for him to reach more voters.
"So they asked me if I would do it and I was like, what the hell, we're getting a free hour on TV," Trump said. “Well, I'll see you later on NBC. I'm looking forward to it. & # 39;
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