Donald Trump rarely faces his citizens. Now he tried and reacted in his own way. But at the emotional peak, the president wasn’t really listening.
US President Donald Trump happily and often speaks to his loyal supporters and friendly moderators on Fox News. But he rarely addresses citizens who criticize him.
It was therefore an unusual situation when Trump answered questions on Tuesday evening (local time) from voters of all levels in Pennsylvania on television station ABC – a so-called “Town Hall” meeting, ie a civilian consultation hour. According to ABC, the questioners at the end of the presidential election were all undecided voters from the highly competitive state in the northeastern US. will play an important role.
This is how the unknown round went:
The institution: The broadcaster called the format “The President and the People”. Citizens, including those who voted for him in 2016 and those who didn’t, asked their questions. Trump replied – in his own way. He usually didn’t answer the questions explicitly, but saw an opportunity to praise his own record. ABC cut Trump and the response of a dozen questioners side by side. Some could see their disappointment that the president had not focused their concerns directly on their faces.
The biggest topic: Over and over it was about the coronavirus, in some questions – but in more answers from the president, who kept coming back to it, even though it wasn’t explicitly asked. “It’s China’s fault,” Trump said time and again when asked about support for the unemployed or the deep economic crisis the country has been going through since the pandemic. Trump, as is often the case, declined any responsibility for the high death rate in the country – nearly 200,000 Americans died from Covid-19. Trump admitted to journalist Bob Woodward that he had “downplayed” the subject. When asked about it by a young woman, Trump claimed he had not “downplayed” or “reinforced” it. The president did not respond to their objection that he himself admitted it.
Are you interested in the US election? Our Washington correspondent Fabian Reinbold writes a newsletter about his work in the White House and his impressions from the US under Donald Trump. Here you can subscribe for free to the “Post from Washington”, which then arrives directly in your mailbox once a week.
The double irritation: When it came to wearing a face mask, Trump was confused twice. On the one hand, he accused his opponent Joe Biden of not having enacted a national obligation to wear masks – how an out-of-office candidate should achieve this remained the president’s secret. It is, of course, Trump himself who could have initiated this. Then he said that many considered wearing a face mask dangerous. “Who?” Asked ABC presenter George Stephanopolous. Trump replied, “Waiter.” They took the mask and then touched the guests’ plates. Trump hardly ever wears a mask himself and sometimes ignores local corona guidelines in his election campaign.
The typical moment: The “Town Hall” format thrives on the unexpected moments of interaction between the president and the questioners. Such a moment came when an immigrant from Latin America spoke up and spoke through tears about her mother, who had died of cancer the previous month.
Trump said the mother must have been a great woman. But time and again he falsely referred to the fact that the mother had died of Covid-19 and was surprised that the daughter hadn’t infected herself with it. The president didn’t listen – that was the highlight of the entire evening’s impression.