Recap: Donald Trump’s NBC town hall interview

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Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty

Norah Tobin 10/20/2020

It takes less than 60 days for many voters to go to the polls to cast President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden’s ballots — but some voters are not yet loyal to either candidate. The president answered questions in an ABC News town hall on Tuesday from some of those voters residing in a crucial swing state: Pennsylvania.
The socially-distant case was moderated at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia by ABC News’ chief anchor, George Stephanopoulo- a different setting than used to.
The Keystone State won only 44,292 votes for Trump in 2016 — less than one percentage point of the overall vote. And while a recent poll of likely state voters showed that Biden is now leading by nine points, in the final weeks of the race, a lot can change, and the opportunities for candidates to respond directly to voters — like the city hall and the upcoming presidential debates — may be what swing voters need to select a candidate, or stay out of the race altogether.
A broad variety of issues were debated by Trump, including his treatment of the coronavirus he advocated; the times he refused to condemn white nationalists, which he denied; and the question of whether he would consent to a peaceful transition of power if he lost to Biden, which he replied obliquely again. Many Americans are currently debating on whether or not Trump’s performance was superlative. NBC host Savannah Guthrie asked Trump a series of strenuous questions. Starting off with Covid-19, Trump denied downplaying the threat from CoronaVirus. “Well, I didn’t downplay it. I actually, in many ways, I up played it in terms of action”.
An exchange over QAnon created a very surprising moment when, after Guthrie briefly explained the baseless conspiracy theory, the president refused to condemn it: that Trump is fighting a” deep state “ring of child sex trafficking run by Democrats. Trump then denied knowing of the theory. “I know nothing about it. I do know that they are very much against pedophilia,” he then went on the allege, “I’ll tell you what I do know about: I know about antifa and I know about the radical left.” Another tense moment came in the midst of a debate on Trump’s tax returns, which was exposed last month in the bomb story of the New York Times.
Trump said, speaking about his finances and the announcement by the Times that he has debts totaling $421 million, “The sum of money, $400 million, is a peanut. It’s incredibly under-leveraged. And with regular banks, it’s leveraged.” As per usual, the majority of Republicans thought he did great while most Democrats thought he did horribly.