National & Minnesota Report

Last night, former President Donald J Trump (R) returned to New Hampshire for a town hall forum hosted at Saint Anselm College and moderated by CNN Reporter Kaitlan Collins. The event commenced with a question from Collins, asked if he would be willing to stop reiterating the “Big Lie” of the 2020 election being stolen. His rambling response included several unsubstantiated references to election fraud in Georgia, Wisconsin, and elsewhere in the country, but ultimately he doubled down on his false claims. To which Collins rebutted and stated unequivocally, “The election was not stolen.”

She questioned him on his lack of support for law enforcement and Capitol Police on January 6th, 2021, and if he felt any responsibility for the resulting insurrection and he referred to the evidence of his actions being in his coat breast pocket. We learn later, this was a printout of his Twitter tweets on that day, which were considered inflammatory and were hence taken down, but show his actions nearly four hours after the chaos ensued.

He was asked if given the opportunity to forgo his call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R-GA) and he said, he was only calling to challenge the result, as opposed to what we all have heard, where he said, “I just want to find 11,780 votes” just enough to overturn the election result, where he lost. She later asked him if he would apologize to Vice-President Mike Pence (R) for putting his life at risk and he again refused to make any concessions.

Later, when asked about his conviction of sexual assault and defamation of E Jean Carroll and where this disqualified him as a candidate for President, he continued his claims of not knowing the woman or ever having met her, which is easily refuted by a photograph widely circulated with the two of them in it. He attempted to retry his case in public and questioned the allowance of evidence on her side versus the evidence his team put forward, which was disallowed.

After the question was asked members of the audience can be heard laughing and he retorted, “There aren’t too many of them. My poll numbers just came out and they went up,” which elicited another round of laughter.

He was asked about the crisis in Washington DC over the Debt Ceiling and said the Republicans should allow it to happen contrary to what he said about it during his term and the only difference being he is not the President.

He failed to express support for Ukraine in its war with Russia but again believes he could get the war stopped in a single day if he were President. This seems like veiled support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he refused to identify as having committed war crimes.

He even took credit for the Doe decision to send Abortion back to the States, due to his appointments of Neil M Gorsuch, Brett M Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.

As the night ensued, Trump continued to be evasive, dropping quips and long-winded responses which rarely addressed the question asked. The bulk of the discussion can best be summed up in a tweet sent out during the event by January 6th Commission member, former Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-OH) “Lies, lies, lies, lies.”

This night should be marked as the official start of the 2024 Presidential campaign. If the tenor of the town hall is any indicator, Trump will be mounting a nostalgia campaign, harkening back to the by-gone era of 2017-2021 and comparing his term to that of Joe Biden.” The comparison is based on the lack of short-term memory and not a reflection of anyone with a legitimate understanding of presidential impact which is it takes 18-24 months for it to be felt. This means Trump received his bump from the Barack Obama term and Biden the downfall from Trump.

It is clear the 2024 campaign will be based on the “Feeling Index.”