Donald Trump addressed Republican and undeclared voters at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire on Wednesday night, just one day after a New York jury found him liable for sexual abuse and defamation.
As soon as the town hall began, Trump repeated his lies about widespread fraud in the 2020 election and refused to acknowledge that he lost the last presidential race to Joe Biden.
“Most people understand that what happened was a rigged election,” Trump said. “And it’s a shame we had to go through that. It’s very bad for our country.”
The former president and current favorite in the 2024 Republican primary was expected to face questions from voters and moderator Kaitlan Collins about his wide range of legal responsibilities as he seeks a return to the White House.
On Tuesday, a New York jury found that Trump had sexually abused advice columnist E Jean Carroll 27 years earlier, ordering the former president to pay him $5 million in damages for his assault and defamation claims.
The verdict came a month after Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection with a hush money scheme during the 2016 election, and the former president also faces possible criminal charges in Georgia and Washington. .
Trump has made it clear that he intends to continue his presidential campaign while fending off these legal threats, and he remains the favorite in center from the Republican primary field.
Several commenters criticized CNN for hosting the town hall in light of Trump’s continued efforts to spread unsubstantiated lies about widespread fraud in the 2020 election, and some called online to cancel the event after the verdict in Carroll’s lawsuit.
But CNN defended his decision to go ahead with the town hall, arguing that voters deserved a chance to hear from the current favorite in the Republican presidential primary.
“Our job, despite your unique circumstances, is to do what we do best,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement. “Ask tough questions, follow up, and hold yourself accountable to give voters the information they need to rank their options. That is our role and our responsibility.”