Former President Donald Trump sounded off on CNN employees’ reaction to his performance in a Wednesday town hall, according to a Monday interview with The Messenger.
“I was amazed to see that they were traumatized by what took place. They were actually traumatized,” Trump said in the interview. “They should have said, ‘we had a tremendous ratings night, one of the best in years, many years,’ and spiked the football.”
Following Trump’s performance, multiple reports surfaced that, inside CNN, many employees were furious over CNN’s decision to offer Trump attention and publicity.
“It was a complete disaster” an anonymous CNN employee told Politico. “It made it seem like CNN was endorsing that behavior.”
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper commiserated with viewers who may have been offended by CNN offering a platform to Trump. (RELATED: CNN Chief Chris Licht Defends Trump Town Hall. ‘Angry’ Staffers Reportedly Aren’t Having It)
“Before we begin with tonight’s broadcast, I want to say something about what we witnessed at last night’s town hall. Many of you have expressed deep anger and disappointment,” Cooper said on Thursday. “Many of you are upset that someone who attempted to destroy our democracy was invited to sit on a stage in front of a crowd of Republican voters to answer questions and predictably, continued to spew lie after lie after lie. And I get it, it was disturbing.”
CNN CEO Chris Licht, while acknowledging the backlash, praised moderator Kaitlan Collins for a “masterful performance,” according to Politico.
“I am aware that there [have] been people with opinions slash backlash, and that is absolutely expected,” Licht said on a call, which Politico obtained. “And I will say this as clearly as I possibly can: You do not have to like the former president’s answers, but you can’t say that we didn’t get them. Kaitlan pressed him again and again and made news — made a lot of news.”
The CNN town hall took place at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire and discussed a wide range of topics including the 2020 election, the state of the U.S. economy and Trump’s ongoing legal troubles.
“I was surprised by the level of hostility. … I thought they would be neutral and even better than that so they could get the viewers back,” Trump said. “And they had one of the best [viewership] days in years. So you would think they would claim success.”
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