Trump vs. CNN

Donald Trump’s “town hall” appearance on CNN last night has liberals gnashing their teeth. They don’t understand why CNN would give Trump a forum, they are appalled that the audience was in Trump’s corner, and they are frustrated that Trump dominated the event, with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins unable to keep Trump under control, let alone embarrass him.

Inevitably, CNN’s host ignored the pressing issues of the day and went straight to what the Left really cares about, the 2020 election and Trump’s refusal to accept that Biden’s victory was legitimate (just as Hillary Clinton refused to accept that Trump’s 2016 victory was legitimate). This was Collins’s first question (from CNN’s transcript):

[Y]our polls show that you are dominating the Republican race right now, but you are also under active federal investigation for trying to overturn the 2020 election results. Your first term ended with a deadly riot at the Capitol, and you still have not publicly acknowledged the 2020 election results.

Why should Americans put you back in the White House?

That set the tone for the evening. The Washington Post, which long ago abandoned any pretense of being a news organization, headlined the Democratic Party’s theme:

There is much that could be said about last night’s event, which certainly was a fiasco for CNN and the Democrats. But I want to focus on the subject of the 2020 election, with which the Democrats continue to be obsessed. What, exactly, were Trump’s “lies”? And was Ms. Collins entirely truthful?

This rambling and semi-coherent riff was Trump’s principal statement on the subject:

I think that, when you look at that result and when you look at what happened during that election, unless you’re a very stupid person, you see what happens.

A lot of the people – a lot of the people in this audience and perhaps maybe a couple that don’t, but most people understand what happened.

That was a rigged election, and it’s a shame that we had to go through it. It’s very bad for our country. All over the world, they looked at it, and they saw exactly what everyone else saw. And you look – even if you just look recently with the 51 intelligence agents, that made a 16-point difference.

If you look at the FBI…

Trump said the election was “rigged,” which happens to be the title of Mollie Hemingway’s book. Mollie makes a persuasive case, which has nothing to do with Dominion’s voting machines. Which Trump never mentioned last night, either. Instead, he started talking about the very real issue of the “Dirty 51” and their fraudulent letter, which may well have swung the election to Biden. Its authors certainly hoped that it would do so.

But Collins didn’t want to talk about that important issue. Instead, she cut Trump off:

COLLINS: But, Mr. President…

TRUMP: If you look at the FBI and Twitter – they call it Twitter Files – made a big difference.

If you look at True the Vote…

COLLINS: Mr. President, back to what you just said there, though, it was not a rigged election. It was not a stolen election.

Collins doesn’t want to talk about the Twitter files, another important issue, either. Instead, she simply asserts as a fact that Trump is wrong. “It was not a rigged election.” Really? So what does CNN have to say about the issues that Trump raised? Nothing. They just want to change the subject.

You and your supporters lost more than 60 court cases on the election. And it’s been nearly two-and-a-half years. Can you publicly acknowledge that you did lose the 2020 election?

In not one of those 60 cases (if that is the right number) was the factual question of how much voter fraud existed litigated. As we have repeatedly pointed out, there is not enough time between the election and the inauguration to investigate, litigate and adjudicate voter fraud. Moreover, the nature of successful voter fraud is that it is almost always impossible to correct after the fact. Once a ballot enters a machine and is counted, it’s all over. It may have been cast illegally by a non-citizen, a felon, someone who already voted in a different state or precinct, and so on. But that ballot can never be identified and pulled out after the fact. Election integrity can be assured only before the fact, not after the election. Which is why Democrats bitterly oppose every measure intended to ensure election integrity.

TRUMP: Now, let me – let me just go on.

If you look at True the Vote, they found millions of votes on camera, on government cameras, where they were stuffing ballot boxes.

I don’t know whether that is correct or not, but in any event, Collins moved on.

COLLINS: But what you just said there, Republican officials debunked those claims about fraudulent ballots.

We want to give you a chance tonight…

TRUMP: Who? Who?

COLLINS: Republican officials in Georgia…


COLLINS: … and every single state. There is no – your own election officials, Mr. President.

So, we wanted to give you a chance…

TRUMP: Look, people were afraid to take on the issue.

But we have a big problem in this country. We have elections…

COLLINS: Well, we wanted to give you a chance to acknowledge the results.

Why is it so important to Democrats that Trump “acknowledge the results”? They aren’t “giving him a chance” to do so, they are trying to bully him. I don’t know why they thought that might work.

TRUMP: We have elections that were horrible.

If you look at what happened in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, if you look at what happened in Detroit, Michigan, if you look at what happened in Atlanta, millions of votes, and all you have to do is take a look at government cameras. You will see them, people going to 28 different voting booths to vote, to put in seven ballots apiece. I mean, and they’re all on camera.

COLLINS: But, Mr. President, I have to stop you there, because – because there is no evidence of that.

No evidence of what? I don’t know about the 28 voting booths and the seven ballots, but Democrat election officials in Philadelphia and Detroit locked Republicans out of the buildings where ballots were being processed, and Republicans had to go to court to gain admittance. Do you think the Democrats did that because they were counting votes honestly? In Atlanta, Democrats lied, saying they were going to stop counting for the night because of a broken pipe. Once Republicans and reporters left the building, they resumed counting ballots. Why do you think they did that? Collins’s blanket statements that there is “no evidence” of voter fraud are ridiculous on their face.

Next, Collins took a question from the audience, which Trump answered appropriately:

DUSTIN: Will you suspend polarizing talk of election fraud during your run for president?

TRUMP: Will I suspend – excuse me? What?

DUSTIN: Will you suspend polarizing talk of election fraud during your run for president?

TRUMP: Yes, unless I see election fraud.

If I see election fraud, I think I have an obligation to say it. And what we went through a short while ago has really put our country in a big problem. I hope to do that. I hope we’re going to have very honest elections. We should have voter I.D. We should have one-day elections. We should have paper ballots, instead of these mail-in votes.

But the answer is yes. And I hope that it’s going to be very straight-up, because, if it’s going to be straight-up, we’re going to win the election.

Next Collins made a bald assertion that was far more clearly false than anything Trump said during the town hall:

COLLINS: I would just say that there’s no evidence of that election fraud.

You did once tweet…

TRUMP: I know you’re supposed to say that, but – you know, I’m glad you say that.

But, look…

COLLINS: It’s the truth, Mr. President.

TRUMP: … that was a horrible election.

Collins moved on to a long discussion of another of the Democrats’ favorite topics, the Capitol demonstration of January 6, 2017. (Note how CNN avoided the issues that are most important to Republicans, even though the town hall was supposed to relate to the GOP primary.) But that led back to election integrity:

TRUMP: Mike had the right to do it. They convinced him he didn’t, and it was a horrible thing for our country.

If you would have sent those votes back to Georgia, Pennsylvania, and other states – Wisconsin, which if you look at Wisconsin, they virtually admitted now that the election was rigged.

COLLINS: They have not admitted that, Mr. President.

TRUMP: If you sent the votes back to many of those states, they would not come back in the affirmative, and remember what I said, and you just said it pretty much. You admitted what I said was right.

COLLINS: I did not.
COLLINS: I should note that your campaign paid for a recount that happened in Wisconsin and actually had more votes for President Biden by the end of it.

This is why recounts are almost always useless. All they can do is count the ballots that were cast, legal and illegal, one more time.

TRUMP: By the way, so many illegal votes were cast in Wisconsin. And if you look in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, they had so many legal – illegal votes, they didn’t even know what to do with them. You’re absolutely wrong about that.

COLLINS: Mr. President, there weren’t any fraudulent votes in Wisconsin.

That claim by Collins is absurd, more obviously false than anything Trump said. Of course fraudulent votes were cast in Wisconsin. The question is how many, and the answer is, we have no way to know. The Democrats do their best to enable voter fraud by opposing every election integrity measure that is proposed in every state. So they own the issue of voter fraud. If we can’t tell how many illegal ballots are being cast, that is on them, not on the Republicans. They can’t get out from under their own actions by baselessly asserting, over and over, that there is zero fraud. Or no significant amount of fraud. Or not enough fraud to swing an election. We could have secure elections, as many countries do, but we don’t, because Democrats don’t want them. They have to take the consequences.

[TRUMP] … In fact, I said to my people, if we start this and don’t finish it, and then we had a rigged election, I’m sorry to say it. And–

COLLINS: The election was not rigged, Mr. President.

TRUMP: Oh, OK, good, I know. I’m–

COLLINS: You can’t keep saying that all night long.

TRUMP: I’m glad you’re saying that. And so then–

COLLINS: You cannot keep saying the election–

TRUMP: – they took over and–

COLLINS: – was rigged.

Yes, actually, he can. And beyond the bare and obviously false assertion that there is no voter fraud (when in fact, there are a surprising number of prosecutions and convictions for voter fraud, given how hard it is to detect after the fact), the Democrats have nothing to say. Until they finally agree to ballot security, voters are going to suspect that fraud plays an important role in our elections, whether the Democrats like it or not.

Notice: All comments are subject to moderation. Our comments are intended to be a forum for civil discourse bearing on the subject under discussion. Commenters who stray beyond the bounds of civility or employ what we deem gratuitous vulgarity in a comment — including, but not limited to, “s***,” “f***,” “a*******,” or one of their many variants — will be banned without further notice in the sole discretion of the site moderator.