President grilled over coronavirus, QAnon, white supremacy

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President Donald Trump responded Thursday evening to a series of intense questions about the coronavirus, conspiracy theories and his re-election campaign.“Oh, you always do that. You always do that, ”Trump said at one point when NBC moderator Savannah Guthrie asked him to clearly speak out against white supremacy, a sticking point after his response in last month’s presidential debate that left even some of his dissatisfied supporters.

“You listen? I denounce the supremacy of the Whites. What’s your next question? Trump told City Hall.

The event in Miami, less than three weeks before Election Day, was hastily scheduled after the second presidential debate between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden was canceled. The president had categorically refused to participate in this event after the committee sponsoring the debate chose to hold the second screening virtually rather than in person.

In his place, Trump and Biden participated in mayoral duels, taking place in different states but scheduled to begin at the same time. Trump’s Town Hall aired on NBC News, while Biden’s event aired from Philadelphia on ABC News.

The first bitter and heated debate in late September was marked by frequent interruptions from Trump and harsh language from Biden. But the fireworks flew freely in the town hall Thursday evening as well.

Guthrie kicked off the hour-long event by asking Trump about some of the unanswered questions about his coronavirus diagnosis revealed earlier in October.

The president said he didn’t remember whether or not he was tested on the day of the first debate with Biden, which took place less than a week before Trump announced he had contracted Covid-19 .

“Maybe I did it, maybe I didn’t,” Trump said.

Guthrie focused on the in-person events Trump has hosted, including his iconic campaign rallies, which recently resumed after the president was hospitalized with coronavirus. Participants in rallies are often tight without wearing masks or other protective gear, and health experts have warned that events could facilitate the spread of Covid-19.

“As president, I have to be there,” Trump said, explaining that he “cannot be locked in a really nice room somewhere in the White House”. He admitted that “it is risky to do it”.

Guthrie replied, “You want to be a leader, but you are also a leader and an example giver. ”

Asked about masks in particular, Trump said, “I’m good with masks.” But he quickly added, “But just the other day they said 85% of people who wear masks get it. ”

Guthrie pushed back, “They didn’t say that, I know about this study. ”

The president appears to be referring to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in mid-September, according to which people who have tested positive or negative for Covid-19 report wearing masks at similar rates, NBC reported.

The CDC tweeted on Wednesday that “the interpretation that more mask wearers are infected compared to non mask wearers is incorrect.”

Guthrie also pressed the president on “QAnon,” the controversial pro-Trump conspiracy theory that has allegedly exploded in popularity online.

The baseless theory alleges, among other things, that Trump is secretly fighting “deep state” factions of powerful satanic pedophiles who are plotting against him and his supporters.

Trump has already said he knows little about QAnon – other than his followers like him, whom he appreciates.

Guthrie exposed some of the essential components of QAnon before asking Trump if he could explicitly disavow him.

“I don’t know anything about QAnon,” Trump began.

“I just told you,” Guthrie replied.

“You told me, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a fact,” Trump said.

The president turned to the balustrade against far-left “Antifa” protesters, whom law enforcement blamed for violent attacks on cities across the United States. “I know how they set fire to towns ruled by Democrats, not Republicans, ”Trump said.

Guthrie returned to QAnon. “I just don’t know about QAnon,” Trump said again.

“You know,” she said. Trump replied, “I don’t know, I don’t know. You tell me, let’s waste the whole series. You start with white supremacy, I denounce it. You start with something else – let’s go, keep asking me these questions. ”

“Why don’t you ask me about Antifa?” Trump continued. “Why don’t you ask me about the radical left? ”

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh in a statement after town hall criticized Guthrie, saying she acted as “debate opponent and substitute for Joe Biden.”

“President Trump masterfully handled Guthrie’s attacks and interacted warmly and effectively with the voters in the room,” Murtaugh said.

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