US election: ‘You’re not someone’s crazy uncle’ – Tensions high as moderator grills Trump
The moderator for Donald Trump’s town hall has been savaged by his supporters for repeatedly clashing with the president, but others have praised her hard-line approach.
The live town hall events featuring Mr Trump and Joe Biden were held in place of the second presidential debate.
The decision to hold two separate town halls was made after Trump refused to participate in a virtual presidential debate following his Covid-19 diagnosis.
Trump may be regretting saying no to a virtual debate after he copped an hour long grilling from NBC moderator Savannah Guthrie, with tensions growing between the pair as the event wore on.
Outraged viewers blasted Guthrie as “hostile” and “an embarrassment”, claiming she was attacked the president rather than moderating the event.
However, there were many that praised Guthrie for holding the president to account by asking him to answer her questions directly.
Guthrie started out by grilling the president about his coronavirus symptoms when he last tested negative before receiving his positive result.
She then questioned him over his response to the pandemic on a broader scale before turning her line of questioning to another contentious issue.
“Let’s waste a whole show,” he snapped at her when she asked him about the retweets on his Twitter feed, which have contained QAnon conspiracy theories and unproven claims Seal Team Six killed Osama bin Laden’s body double.
“You’re the president, you’re not like someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever,” Guthrie told him as she pressed him on the issue.
Guthrie asked why Trump refused to denounce white supremacy when asked during the first presidential debate, instead only doing do two days later.
“Oh, you always do this,” Trump interjected during the question.
“You know, you always do this. You’ve done this to me, and everybody – I denounced white supremacy, OK?”
“You did it two days later,” Guthrie said.
“I’ve denounced white supremacy for years. But you always do it, you always start off with the question,” the president said.
Trump complained that Joe Biden wasn’t asked whether he denounces Antifa and claimed another NBC reporter asked his rival questions “like he was a child”.
“Are you listening? I denounced white supremacy. What’s your next question?” the president said.
But Guthrie refused to change the subject, saying sometimes felt like Mr Trump was “hesitant” to denounce the white supremacy.
The exchange between Trump and Guthrie went on like this for some time, with Guthrie also asking the president to denounce QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory that suggests the Democrats are a Satanic paedophile ring.
The president repeatedly claimed he didn’t know about the theory, with Guthrie continually insisting that he did and asking him to publicly denounce it.
Trump’s campaign released a statement following the event claiming the president “soundly defeated NBC’s Savannah Guthrie in her role as debate opponent and Joe Biden surrogate”.
“President Trump masterfully handled Guthrie’s attacks and interacted warmly and effectively with voters in the room,” the statement read.
Social media was flooded with comments following the debate, with opinions split on Guthrie’s moderating style.
Here is what some of her critics are saying:
And here is what her supporters are saying:
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