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Former President Donald Trump’s dismissive comments about being found liable of sexual abuse were met with applause and laughter from the live audience members during a CNN town hall in New Hampshire on Wednesday.
Amid his 2024 presidential campaign, Trump sat down with CNN This Morning anchor Kaitlan Collins, who asked about a civil jury finding him liable and ordering him to pay $5 million to E. Jean Carroll in a judgment announced Tuesday in a federal courtroom in New York City.
Trump, who did not attend the trial, maintained to Collins that he did not remember meeting Carroll in 1996 at a Bergdorf Goodman store across the street from Trump Tower, as she claimed.
At one point, Trump clarified that the jury rejected Carroll’s allegation that she was raped. “I didn’t do anything else either because I don’t know who the hell she is,” he said, which was among his lines to elicit laughter from audience members.
The crowd also laughed when Trump said of Carroll, “She’s a wack job.” He went on to say that he swears on his children that he doesn’t know who she is.
When asked whether he thought the verdict would deter women from voting for him, Trump replied, “No, I don’t think so.” He also boasted about his poll numbers.
In a statement shared with The Hollywood Reporter, a network spokesperson weighed in on the town hall that had been the subject of criticism for providing Trump with this platform amid his continued rhetoric about 2020 election fraud claims.
“Tonight Kaitlan Collins exemplified what it means to be a world-class journalist,” CNN’s message read. “She asked tough, fair and revealing questions. And she followed up and fact-checked President Trump in real time to arm voters with crucial information about his positions as he enters the 2024 election as the Republican frontrunner. That is CNN’s role and responsibility: to get answers and hold the powerful to account.”
The town hall featured questions from New Hampshire voters, and all of those who had the microphone were identified as either independents or Republican-leaning. Many of those speaking were announced as having voted for Trump in the most recent election.
Trump began the event by refusing to walk back his assertion that President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election was the result of a rigged voting process. As the CNN town hall wound down, Collins again tried to correct the record on the 2020 presidential results: “The election was not rigged, Mr. President. You can’t keep saying that all night long.”
May 10, 8 p.m. Updated with CNN’s statement.
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