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SHOCK: ABC Hails ‘Empathetic’ Trump’s ‘Calm,’ ‘Pretty Good’ Town Hall



In a surprising twist, Nightline journalists and guests at ABC hailed Donald Trump’s Tuesday night town hall with voters and host George Stephanopoulos as “pretty good,” showcasing the President’s “empathy” and “calm.” The most shocking praise came from veteran Democrat Rahm Emanuel who saw strong “message discipline” from Trump. 

Jon Karl on Nightline reacted to the 90 minute event in Pennsylvania, complimenting, “On balance, this was a pretty good event for Donald Trump. He got to show another side of himself, an empathetic side, talking about the incredible death toll from COVID.”

Without mentioning Joe Biden’s basement strategy (the Democrat just took a three day weekend off campaigning), Karl reiterated, “On balance, an interesting town hall, a rare chance to see the president truly interacting with uncommitted voters.” 

 

 

Emanuel, a former Democratic operative, Obama official, and mayor of Chicago, offered the most surprising praise: 

He showed incredible message discipline in the face of adversity. He didn’t get knocked off his game. Now, do I think he was factually correct? No. Do I think if I looked at that —  I would make sure in real time that the campaign from Biden is putting out constant fact correctors. 

Republican Chris Christie was also impressed:         

I think what the President did tonight was to calmly and directly answer questions from members of the audience and to spar pretty good with our colleague, George Stephanopoulos back and forth. I think the President walked away feeling relatively good about how things went, and I think he should. 

Sara Fagen, who worked for the George W. Bush administration, marveled: 

To Governor Christie’s point, this is one of the calmest performances I’ve seen him. And he did get asked some very tough questions, some fair questions. But they were confrontational and he never lost his cool one time. 
    
A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more. 

Nightline
9/15/2020 (9/16/2020 on east coast) 
12:06:49 

JUJU CHANG: Thanks for joining us. Tonight, with election day less than 50 days away, President Trump found himself in front of a different audience, uncommitted voters in the swing state of Pennsylvania. And for the very latest, we go to ABC’s chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl, who was in the room with the president in Philadelphia. Jon? 

JON KARL: Juju, on balance, this was a pretty good event for Donald Trump. He got to show another side of himself, an empathetic side, talking about the incredible death toll from COVID-19. This was something we rarely see from the President. That said, he also said again he has absolutely no regrets for anything about the way he handled the crisis. He wouldn’t do anything differently, and he said some things that are sure to generate controversy.

KARL: But Juju, on balance, an interesting town hall, a rare chance to see the president truly interacting with uncommitted voters. 

… 

CHRIS CHRISTIE:  I think what the President did tonight was to calmly and directly answer questions from members of the audience and to spar pretty good with our colleague, George Stephanopoulos back and forth. I think the President walked away feeling relatively good about how things went, and I think he should. 

CHANG: From a performance aspect, what were the strongest moments and the weakest? 

CHRISTIE: The strongest, his general demeanor. The President remained calm throughout, and even when the audience members asked some very confrontational questions and challenging questions to the President, I thought he responded in a way that was respectful and deferential to the citizens that he represents. I think the overall tone was strongest part of tonight for the President. And listen, some of the questions on COVID are very contentious and difficult for the president. That was probably the toughest part of the evening, but I think his general demeanor was the strongest part of the evening. 

RAHM EMANUEL: He showed incredible message discipline in the face of adversity. He didn’t get knocked off his game. Now, do I think he was factually correct? No. Do I think if I looked at that —  I would make sure in real time that the campaign from Biden is putting out constant fact correctors. 

CHANG: Americans got a chance to see a different side of the president. He’s lost ground with college-educated suburban women. Was he able to win any back? 

SARA FAGEN (CEO Deep Root Analytics): To Governor Christie’s point, this is one of the calmest performances I’ve seen him. And he did get asked some very tough questions, some fair questions. But they were confrontational and he never lost his cool one time. It makes you wonder, when he’s at a podium with reporters, if that isn’t intentional and for show. I don’t understand why he would take that strategy, but he was incredibly calm. And George asked him very tough questions and interrupted him appropriately so, but interrupted him several times on points that George said were factually incorrect. And he never once was ruffled. And so, I think from the perspective of suburban women, what they are looking for is a strong and calm leader, and he presented that tonight.



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