You know that Donald Trump bombed on ABC’s town hall last night because instead of crowing about his prowess, Fox News and Trump worshiper Laura Ingraham accused ABC of “ambushing” him – with totally legit questions, of course.
“The DNC may as well have put the whole thing on,” Ingraham groused. As she spoke a lower-third banner read, “ABC SPRINGS AMBUSH ON PRES TRUMP AT TOWN HALL.”
Moderator George Stephanopoulos said that “some” members of the attendees voted for Trump in 2016 and “some voted for Hillary Clinton, some voted for third party candidates or no one at all.” All wrote their own questions, he added.
Ingraham highlighted some confrontational questions but all were questions Trump should have been prepared to answer. For example, one clip played someone asking, “Why did you throw vulnerable people like me under the bus?” Not played? The questioner began by praising Trump’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other questions: “Why don’t you support a national mandate for mask wearing and why don’t you wear a mask more often?” and (referring to Trump’s admissions on the Woodward tapes) “Why would you downplay a pandemic that is known to disproportionately harm low-income families and minority communities?”
“And then there was this moment,” Ingraham sneered.
“Should pre-existing conditions, which Obamacare brought into, brought to fruition, be removed?” a questioner asked.
Trump interrupted to say “no,” which prompted the questioner to say, “Please stop [interrupting] and let me finish my question, sir,” before adding, “Should that be removed?”
Ingraham played Trump’s lying response: “We are not going to hurt anything having to do with pre-existing conditions” and “[Biden] will not do that because they have socialized medicine.”
Stephanopoulos had the nerve, in Ingraham’s view, to interrupt Dear Leader to note the truth: that Biden does not support Medicare for all, that Obamacare currently requires health insurers to cover pre-existing conditions and that Trump is trying to do away with it.
Laura the Lapdog only played Stephanopoulos saying that Trump has been “trying to strike down pre-existing conditions.”
That prompted another Trump lie that Lapdog Laura ignored: “I have it already and it’s a much better plan for you and it’s a much better plan.”
FACT CHECK: Trump keeps promising he’ll come up with a better plan without doing so. He has even laughably claimed he’ll sign an executive order requiring health insurers to cover pre-existing conditions, while Obamacare is still the law.
“Pro-life” Ingraham didn’t mention this latest example of Trump’s willingness to let Americans die while he makes false proclamations.
Instead, she brought on Republican pollster John McLaughlin. You may recall that Sean Hannity recently suggested, on the air, McLaughlin is a better pollster than Fox News. FiveThirtyEight rates McLaughlin’s firm with a C/D. Fox News’ pollsters are rated A- and A/B.
“This was an ambush,” Ingraham said pointedly to McLaughlin. “And Biden’s not going to take any questions like this. He’s not going to get any questions like this.” Apparently, Lapdog Laura missed Biden’s CNN interview with Jake Tapper just last week.
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the president, first of all, he did very well. I watched it where he answered those questions and, and, and at the end of it, he demonstrated empathy. There was a woman there who lost her mother, she’d just become a citizen and he was very sensitive and demonstrated empathy with that woman. Where the president really, really did very well.
Demonstrating empathy with a voter who just lost her mother seems a rather low bar for a presidential candidate, much less one already in the Oval Office. But it shows how awful Trump is that a pundit would trumpet what should be a given of basic human decency.
But it was worse than that. From The Daily Beast:
Notably, the president has been on the receiving end of criticism over that very moment as the questioner—who was sobbing heavily and muffled at times—noted her mother had died of breast cancer a short while before. Trump, however, thought the woman said her mother died from COVID-19 and spent the lion’s share of his answer to her talking about coronavirus treatments. (The woman’s question, which she relayed from her deceased mother, was about Trump’s immigration policy.)
Nobody challenged McLaughlin’s characterization of Trump’s big empathy. So he continued.
MCLAUGHLIN: And I think he’s doing it [the town hall] because he knows that Biden’s not going to be able to debate so he was debating Stephanopoulos tonight.
The other guest, RealClear Politics' Tom Bevan, chuckled offscreen. However, later, Bevan tepidly described the town hall, as “not his best performance.” Bevan also said that Trump did the town hall because he needs to expand his base, though, “I don’t know that this was the proper venue for that, given the way the moderator and the questions were posed.”
McLaughlin did some more cheerleading. “And George interrupted him virtually every answer, right off the bat. But you’re right about – he does thrive on the challenge and he does do well. And I think most voters who watch this will see what it was and it was a win for President Trump. So he did very well.”
McLaughlin even looks like Dick Morris.
You can watch the Trump protection racket below, from the September 15, 2020 The Ingraham Angle, via Media Matters.