Coup-attempting former President Donald Trump doubled down Wednesday on his lies about the 2020 election and his actions during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol and claimed, again, that his vice president had “done something wrong” by not declaring Trump the winner of the election he had lost.
“That was a rigged election,” Trump lied, barely two minutes into a “town hall” hosted for him by CNN.
Responding to a question about why he waited three hours before telling his mob of followers to stop attacking the Capitol, Trump falsely claimed he had done so soon after 2 p.m.
In reality, that taped video message was not released until 4:17 p.m. — hours after his supporters had broken into the building while assaulting police officers.
Trump’s campaign has tried to use his agreement to do CNN’s town hall as evidence that he is unafraid of tough questions, unlike his closest rival in the polls, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has not declared his candidacy but become famous for avoiding interviews from all but the most friendly news outlets.
Nevertheless, Trump himself portrayed CNN’s decision to host him as proof that even organizations that had been critical of him understand that they need him to boost viewership.
“CNN is rightfully desperate to get those fantastic Trump ratings back. They were ratings like none other, and they want them back. They made me a deal I couldn’t refuse,” he said in a video statement he posted to his personal social media platform earlier Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning, though, Trump appeared to threaten CNN that it had better be nice to him if it wanted to continue having him on its shows. “They must treat MAGA, the greatest political movement in our Country’s history, with respect,” he said in a Wednesday afternoon post.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.