Conservatives have erupted in anger after NBC’s Savannah Guthrie grilled Donald Trump with a ‘question every 12 seconds’ while ABC’s George Stephanopoulos was accused of forgetting to ask Joe Biden about his son Hunter’s emails.
Trump and Biden both held their town halls Thursday evening, with viewers forced to choose between the clashing timetables after the president scheduled his to go head to head with his competitor.
On NBC, Trump was asked about coronavirus, QAnon, his own diagnosis and his taxes by Guthrie while, on ABC, Biden spoke LGBTQ rights, court packing and the 1994 crime bill with Stephanopoulos.
But Republicans voiced outrage about the president’s campaign event, accusing Guthrie of turning the town hall into a ‘debate’ and arguing that he faced a much tougher round of questioning than his rival.
Conservatives have erupted in anger after NBC’s Savannah Guthrie grilled Donald Trump with a ‘question every 12 seconds’ while ABC’s George Stephanopoulos was accused of forgetting to ask Joe Biden about his son Hunter’s emails
Another bone of contention among Trump fans including White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was their argument that Guthrie dominated the questions rather than allowing voters to ask the president questions in the typical town hall format
Former White House press secretary and Fox News contributor Ari Fleischer likened NBC to an ‘interrogation’ and ABC to a ‘picnic’ as he accused Guthrie of repeatedly interrupting Trump.
‘I just switched to NBC since ABC is in a commercial. Savanah Guthrie has interrupted Trump in these 60 seconds more than Stephanopoulos has done to Biden in 40 mins,’ he tweeted.
‘NBC is an interrogation. ABC is a picnic.’
Staunch Republican and Trump ally Frank Luntz also accused Guthrie of interrupting Trump ‘every 12 seconds’ while Biden was able to speak uninterrupted over on the other channel.
‘NBC host @SavannahGuthrie is interrupting Donald Trump on average every 12 seconds. ABC host @GStephanopoulos is interrupting Joe Biden [checks] not at all,’ he wrote.
Luntz continued saying the two candidates were treated ‘dramatically different’ and crying that it wasn’t ‘fair’.
‘Someone needs to do a side-by-side comparison of the 2 town halls,’ he tweeted.
‘Should one candidate be treated dramatically different than the other? Is that fair? Is that legitimate?’
Another bone of contention among Trump fans was their argument that Guthrie dominated the questions rather than allowing voters to ask the president questions in the typical town hall format.
‘How long will NBC go before giving an actual voter the chance to ask a question?’ Luntz asked, who later said calling the event a ‘town hall’ was ‘false advertising.’
Conservative accused Guthrie of turning the town hall into another ‘debate’
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany also fumed about an apparent lack of voter questions.
‘A third of the way into the NBC town hall and NO questions from the PEOPLE!!!’ she wrote on Twitter.
Former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly raged that the town hall was designed to ‘appease’ Democrats who had slammed NBC for allowing the president to schedule the clash with Biden’s town hall on the network.
‘So far, this is not a town hall for voters, it is designed to appease the angry NBC employees/Dems who are pissed off Trump’s on NBC at all,’ she tweeted.
She later compared his treatment to that of Biden’s saying it’s ‘easier when the moderator lets you speak.’
‘Biden sounds good/coherent on ABC right now – talking about the country’s future/unity – has the ‘aw shucks’ attitude he sometimes shows,’ she wrote.
‘It’s definitely easier when the moderator lets you speak.’
Others questioned why Stephanopoulos failed to ask Biden a single question about the explosive New York Post story about emails allegedly leaked from Hunter Biden’s laptop
By contrast, many questioned why Stephanopoulos failed to ask Biden a single question about the explosive New York Post story about emails allegedly leaked from Hunter Biden’s laptop.
The story alleges Biden met with Ukrainian businessman Vadym Pozharskyi in 2015 when the businessman was paying his son Hunter $50,000-a-month.
Months later, Biden – then Vice President – pressured Ukrainian officials into firing a prosecutor who was investigating Pozharskyi.
The first emails were released by the New York Post on Wednesday.
The historically Conservative outlet got the emails from Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s closest aides who has also been accused of working with a Russian agent.
Biden’s campaign said Wednesday a meeting with Pozharskyi was not in his official schedule.
A second trove of emails was released Thursday suggesting Hunter pursued deals with a major Chinese energy company including one that would be ‘interesting for me and my family’.
Critics questioned why Biden was not pressed on the topic Thursday night with avid conservative actor James Wood retweeting a post from journalist Kyle Morris on the issue.
‘There was not a single mention of the New York Post’s hard-hitting story on Hunter Biden’s emails during Joe Biden’s town hall,’ asked Morris.
‘What the hell is going on over at ABC News? Have they thrown out what little journalistic integrity they had left?’
Woods retweeted his post and simply wrote: ‘Yes.’
Yet while people on the right were outraged after the town hall events, many liberals congratulated Guthrie for calling out Trump’s factual inaccuracies and getting a near-confession over his failure to pay taxes
Another journalist Andrew Mark Miller also tweeted about the absence of questions on the topic.
‘@JoeBiden spoke at an @ABC town hall event for 90 minutes Thursday night and wasn’t asked a single question about his son Hunter’s emails or his involvement with Ukraine,’ he wrote.
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh also blasted what he cited as a ‘difference in media treatment’ of the two candidates.
‘These two town halls capture perfectly the difference in media treatment, Trump vs. Biden. ABC is doing everything they can to keep Joe Biden comfortable,’ he tweeted.
‘Meanwhile, Savannah Guthrie is attacking the President like she openly hates him. Couldn’t be encapsulated better.’
Despite his umbrage at Guthrie’s moderation tactics and outrage that it be treated like a debate rather than a town hall, Murtaugh contradicted himself by declaring victory over the NBC host soon after it wrapped up.
‘Even though the commission canceled the in-person debate that could have happened tonight, one occurred anyway, and President Trump soundly defeated NBC’s Savannah Guthrie in her role as debate opponent and Joe Biden surrogate,’ Murtaugh said in a statement.
‘President Trump masterfully handled Guthrie’s attacks.’
Trump sparred with Guthrie over wearing a face mask, denouncing white supremacy, and the QAnon conspiracy group
Over at Biden’s town hall, the Democrat wasn’t asked about his son’s explosive emails
Yet while people on the right were outraged after the town hall events, many liberals congratulated Guthrie for calling out Trump’s factual inaccuracies and getting a near-confession over his failure to pay taxes.
Guthrie was praised for fact-checking Trump in real time and running a harder line than the president is used to as he typically speaks to the right-wing press such as ally network Fox News.
When Trump claimed the CDC had found that ’85 percent of people who wear a mask catch [coronavirus]’ to argue against masks Guthrie corrected him saying the survey actually found 85 percent of people in a group of 150 Covid-19 patients had worn a mask.
The president was also cagey about his views on QAnon and was grilled over his retweet of a baseless conspiracy theory that Seal Team Six did not kill Osama bin Laden, snapping at Guthrie: ‘Let’s waste a whole show.’
‘You’re not somebody’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever,’ Guthrie hit back.
She also challenged Trump over his taxes after it emerged in a New York Times investigation last month that he had paid just $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017 and nothing for several other years and owes $421m debt.
‘Who do you owe $421m to?’ Guthrie said.
Trump equivocated and claimed he owed ‘a very small amount of money’ and was ‘underlevered’.
Guthrie asked: ‘Are you confirming that, yes, you do owe some $400m?’
‘What I’m saying is that it’s a tiny percentage of my net worth,’ Trump said.
‘That sounds like yes,’ Guthrie responded.
‘Savannah Guthrie is doing very well so far in this format. She’s being direct, persistent, correcting misinformation and not letting the president avoid answering questions. Future debate moderators should take notes,’ journalist Liam Stack tweeted of Guthrie.
Journalist Erin Ryan also wrote that Trump ‘losing to a “girl” will have damaged his reputation among ‘insecure men’.
‘i can’t think of anything more strategically disastrous than trump going head-to-head with @SavannahGuthrie and getting his ass kicked,’ she tweeted.
‘the white women he needs to defect back to him will see themselves in her. the insecure men who love him will see him losing to a “girl”.’