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President grilled on coronavirus, QAnon, White supremacy

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President Trump throughout a Town Hall hosted by NBC News in Miami, Fla.

NBC News

President Donald Trump fielded an intense line of questioning at a city corridor on Thursday night time that touched on the coronavirus, conspiracy theories and his reelection marketing campaign.

“Oh, you always do this. You always do this,” Trump mentioned at one level when the moderator, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, requested him to obviously denounce White supremacy, a sticking level following his reply in final month’s presidential debate that left even a few of his supporters unhappy.

“Are you listening? I denounce White supremacy. What’s your next question?” Trump mentioned on the city corridor.

The occasion in Miami, lower than three weeks out from Election Day, was rapidly scheduled after the cancellation of the second presidential debate between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. The president had flatly refused to participate in that occasion after the fee sponsoring the talk opted to carry the second displaying nearly, quite than in particular person.

In its place, Trump and Biden participated in dueling city halls, set in several states however scheduled to start out on the similar time. Trump’s city corridor was aired on NBC News, whereas Biden’s occasion was broadcast from Philadelphia on ABC News.

The bitter, fiery first debate in late September was marked by Trump’s frequent interruptions and Biden’s harsh language. But fireworks flew freely within the city corridor Thursday night time, as properly.

Guthrie kicked off the hourlong occasion by grilling Trump about among the unanswered questions surrounding his coronavirus prognosis revealed earlier in October.

The president mentioned he didn’t bear in mind whether or not he was or was not examined on the day of the primary debate with Biden, which occurred lower than per week earlier than Trump introduced he had contracted Covid-19.

“Possibly I did, possibly I didn’t,” Trump mentioned.

Guthrie shifted her focus to the in-person occasions Trump has hosted, together with his signature marketing campaign rallies, which have not too long ago resumed after the president’s hospitalization with the coronavirus. Attendees on the rallies are sometimes packed tightly with out sporting masks or different protecting gear, and well being consultants have warned that the occasions may facilitate the unfold of Covid-19.

“As president, I have to be out there,” Trump mentioned, explaining that he “can’t be locked in a very beautiful room somewhere in the White House.” He acknowledged that “it’s risky doing it.”

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

Asked about masks particularly, Trump mentioned, “I’m good with masks.” But he shortly added, “but just the other day they came out with a statement that 85% of the people that wear masks catch it.”

Guthrie pushed again: “They didn’t say that, I know that study.”

The president seemed to be referring to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report from mid-September, which mentioned that individuals who have examined both optimistic or unfavorable for Covid-19 report sporting masks at comparable charges, NBC reported.

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

Guthrie additionally pressed the president on “QAnon,” the controversial pro-Trump conspiracy principle that has reportedly exploded in recognition on-line.

The baseless principle alleges, amongst different issues, that Trump is secretly preventing in opposition to “deep state” factions of highly effective Satanic pedophiles who’re plotting in opposition to him and his supporters.

Trump has beforehand mentioned he is aware of little about QAnon — aside from that its followers like him, which he appreciates.

Guthrie laid out among the core elements of QAnon earlier than asking Trump if he may explicitly disavow it.

“I know nothing about QAnon,” Trump started.

“I just told you,” Guthrie shot again.

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

The president pivoted to railing in opposition to far-left “Antifa” demonstrators, whom legislation enforcement officers have blamed for violent assaults in cities throughout the U.S. “I know how they’re burning down cities run by Democrats, not run by Republicans,” Trump mentioned.

Guthrie returned to QAnon. “I just don’t know about QAnon,” Trump mentioned once more.

“You do know,” she mentioned. Trump replied: “I don’t know, I don’t know. You tell me about it, let’s waste the whole show. You start off with White supremacy, I denounce it. You start off with something else – let’s go, keep asking me these questions.”

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

Trump marketing campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh in an announcement after the city corridor slammed Guthrie, saying she had acted as a “debate opponent and Joe Biden surrogate.”

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


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