Trump Town Hall: Well, All That Happened!
Bang-up job by the Trump campaign, who thought they'd convince those suburban women to PLEASE LIKE ME Donald Trump — a man they find loathsome and boorish — by giving them more Donald Trump.
"Let's have him yell at Savannah Guthrie. That'll win those moms back," they yelled. Presumably. Tomorrow he'll seal the deal by beating up a pumpkin spice latte.
After Trump refused to do a remote debate like a common John F. Kennedy, he craftily contrived to get himself a town hall on NBC to compete with Biden's appearance on ABC. Then they could beat Biden in the ratings (haha, nope) and Trump could spend several days congratulating himself on winning the "real" polls. You know, like the boat parades!
"So you know, I'm being set up tonight, right. I'm doing this town hall with Con-cast. C-O-N, right? Con? Cause it's a con job. Con-cast. C-O-N, not C-O-M. C-O-N-cast."
El. Oh. El.
"And so they asked me if I'd do it, and I figured what the hell, we've got a free hour on television," he bragged to a crowd in North Carolina yesterday.
"And we have Savannah Guthrie," he added sarcastically. "She's always lovely, isn't she? But I figure why not."
If you saw this scene in a movie, you'd know it was a prelude to watching the pompous ass get his ass kicked by the plucky heroine. And that it was a shitty movie. But we've been trapped in a shitty movie for four years, so, par for the course.
The evening got off to relatively normal start.
"It's great to be back in my home state, Florida, to make my official return to the campaign trail," said the president, who held rallies this week in Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina, and Florida.
Then Guthrie asked about his coronavirus symptoms and whether he ever had pneumonia.
TRUMP: No, but they said the lungs are a little bit different, a little bit perhaps infected, and —
GUTHRIE: Infected with?
TRUMP: I don't know. I mean, I didn't do too much asking. I really felt good. I didn't have much of a problem with the lungs. I did have a little bit of a temperature. Obviously, I felt there was something missing, and then I tested, I tested positive.
He's got a fever. And the only answer is ... more cowbell. (And lies.)
Did he get tested the day of the debate with Joe Biden, as he'd promised to do?
GUTHRIE: You say you don't know if you've got a test on the day of the debate?
TRUMP: I had no problem. Again, the doctors do it. I don't ask them. I test all the time. And they —
GUTHRIE: Did you take a test, though, on the day of the debate?
TRUMP: If you ask as the doctor, they'll give you a perfect answer. But they take a test and I leave and I go about my business.
GUTHRIE: So you, did you take a test on the day of the debate, I guess is the bottom line?
TRUMP: I probably did, and I took a test the day before and the day before, and I was always in great shape, and I was in great shape for the debate. And it was only after the debate, a period of time after the debate that I said, "That's interesting." And they took a test and it tested positive.
GUTHRIE: Just to button it up, do you take a test every single day?
TRUMP: No. No, but I take a lot of tests.
GUTHRIE: Okay. And you don't know if you took a test the day of the debate?
TRUMP: Possibly I did, possibly I didn't. But the doctor has very accurate information and it's not only that doctor, it's many doctors. The one thing, if you're president, you have a lot of doctors you're surrounded by. But I was in great shape for the debate. And sometime after the debate, I tested positive, then that's when they decided to, let's go.
GUTHRIE: Okay, good. I hopefully provided some clarity for folks.
Spoiler Alert: He didn't take the test. And if he did, it was the rapid response one that doesn't pick up most asymptomatic cases because the viral load is too low.
Then there was that nonsense about "they came out with a statement that 85% of the people that wear masks catch it," which Dok is already covering, bless him!
Why is our death rate from COVID-19 higher than any other developed country?
GUTHRIE: But we have per… Our deaths per capita is among the highest of all —
TRUMP: Excess mortality.
GUTHRIE: I'm sorry?
TRUMP: Excess mortality, we're a winner on the excess mortality. And what we've done has been amazing.
Is he trying to make an argument that other countries are hiding all their coronavirus deaths and saying they're from, like, car accidents? Or is he just making shit up again?
That's a rhetorical question. Also, if you're asking, "is the president correct about our excess mortality compared to other countries," the Journal of the American Medical Association says the answer is "no".
Say, you know what this party needs? More insane conspiracy theories.
"Let me ask you about QAnon. It is this theory that Democrats are a satanic pedophile ring and that you are the savior of that. Now can you just, once and for all, state that that is completely not true, and disavow QAnon in its entirety?" Guthrie asked.
The president responded with several minutes of equivocation, insisting that "I know nothing about QAnon," while simultaneously praising the cult for being "very much against pedophilia." Trump, who had just agreed to denounce white supremacy, pointedly refused to repudiate QAnon, pivoting immediately to blarping nonsense about Antifa.
TRUMP: I know very little. You told me, but what you tell me, doesn't necessarily make it fact. I hate to say that. I know nothing about it. I do know they are, they fight it very hard. But I know nothing about it. If you'd like me to study the subject.
GUTHRIE: They believe that it is a satanic cult run by the deep state.
TRUMP: I'll tell you what I do know about. I know about Antifa, and I know about the radical Left, and I know how violent they are and how vicious they are. And I know how they are burning down cities run by Democrats, not run by Republicans.
He finished the exchange by sneering "that's so cute." Sorry ladies, he's taken!
And speaking of shit Trump knows nothing about ... remember like three days ago when Donald Trump RT'd some rando conspiracy loon saying that Joe Biden killed SEAL Team 6 to cover up for not killing Osama bin Laden or ... honestly who the hell knows.
TRUMP: That was a retweet. That was an opinion of somebody and that was a retweet. I'll put it out there. People can decide for themselves. I don't take a position.
GUTHRIE: But, I don't get that, you're the President. You're not like, someone's crazy uncle who can just retweet, whatever.
TRUMP: No, no. No, no. That was a retweet. And I do a lot of retweets. And frankly, because the media is so fake, and so corrupt, if I didn't have social media… I don't call it Twitter, I call it social media. I wouldn't be able to get the word out. And the word is —
GUTHRIE: Well, the word is false.
TRUMP: And you know what the word is? The word is very simple. We're building our country, stronger and better than it's ever been before. And that's what's happening. And everybody knows it.
"I bear absolutely no responsibility for any slanderous information I put out in the world" is kind of an odd position for a guy gunning to make Twitter liable for what's posted on its site. But whatevs.
Then it was time for Trump to barf out errant nonsense in response to audience member questions. Like the healthcare worker who asked what he'd do about furloughs of front line workers, only to be met with a boast about how he'd closed the borders to China and the economy was just booming.
TRUMP: Look, this was a thing that came into our country and it happened a hundred, more than a hundred years ago, and it happened now. They were talking about a 42% unemployment rate.
GUTHRIE: Who was talking about that?
TRUMP: It came out, it just came out.
It did not just come out. And unlike Maria Bartiromo, Guthrie didn't just smile and nod at the presidential bullshit fountain.
Trump is sure that the science on masks is unsettled — it isn't — and that Senate Republicans will gladly greenlight a massive relief package the second he snaps his fingers — they won't. A perfect plan to replace Obamacare with something bigger, better, faster, more is right around the corner, to be announced in two weeks. Probably the same day as the coronavirus vaccine.
There are infinity crazy stupid quotes to choose from in last night's transcript, but it's too boring to bother. They're all exactly the same. The president has been breathing in his own carbon dioxide exhalations in the sealed echo chamber of Fox News for so long that he's lost touch with reality — and oxygen! Nothing he says is true, and worse, he doesn't understand that people expect that the president of the United States will not simply fabricate statistics out of whole cloth.
"I know you read the news, but do you watch it?" he demanded of Guthrie. Because in his mind, actually doing the work means sitting on the couch and watching television. The real news isn't the data, it's the spin.
Meanwhile, over at ABC, Vice President Joe Biden was talking policy and engaging with voters. Yes, it was boring. Of course it was boring! Because policy is hard. Negotiating treaties and passing legislation is hard. Reading the briefing books to understand all sides before making a decision is hard. Ice cream is tastier than broccoli — but you still have to eat your goddamn vegetables!
And you know who's willing to eat the vegetables? The guy who was still answering voter questions after ABC had handed the microphone over to the talking heads.
Biden’s STILL talking to voters in the room of his Philadelphia town hall ... 57 minutes after Trump’s event ended https://t.co/0P49sENn4L— Ryan Heath (@Ryan Heath)1602813457.0
Enough of this shit. It's time for us to put down the potato chips, log off Twitter, and do the hard work.
Eighteen days to go.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.