Donald Trump made a rare live appearance on CNN where he repeated false claims about the 2020 election and hurled insults at a former magazine columnist and found liable of sexually abusing and defaming.
Trump, during a one-hour “town hall” on the cable television network denounced it as “fake news” while in the White House, took questions on a broad range of subjects including the war in Ukraine, the debt limit, immigration and his multiple legal challenges.
Trump said If reelected, he would pardon a “large portion” of the hundreds of Trump supporters who have been jailed for their roles in the January 6, 2021 storming of the US Capitol.
Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, refused to unreservedly commit to accepting the results of the next White House vote when pressed by CNN anchor Kaitlin Collins, the mediator for the event.
The former president also waded into the tense negotiations between the Biden White House and Congress over raising the US debt limit, urging Republican legislators not to do so if Democrats don’t agree to spending cuts.
On Ukraine, Trump said Russian leader Vladimir Putin made a “tremendous mistake” by invading but he declined to say who he wanted to win the war or whether he would continue to provide military aid to Ukraine.
Biden, who announced last month that he will seek re-election, responded to Trump’s appearance with a fund-raising appeal. “It’s simple, folks,” Biden tweeted. “Do you want four more years of that?”
Trump dismissed other legal challenges he is facing as the work of Democrats to stop his bid to be the Republican standard-bearer in 2024.
Trump sued CNN in October, accusing the network of waging a campaign of “libel and slander” against him and seeking $475 million in punitive damages.
Writing by Julian Osamoto; Editing by Adeniyi Bakare