Riding high after his performance at a CNN town hall Wednesday night, President Donald Trump palled with the audience in a viral clip following the event.
Calling it a “friendly” experience, Trump yelled out, “Have a good time, everybody” before waving to cheering supporters and making his way from the stage. Off-screen, audience members applauded the former president who repeated his tagline “Make America Great Again” as a supporter called out, “You did awesome Trump!”
While media prognosticators and liberal commentators were aflame over Trump getting a primetime hour on cable news to himself, his campaign team was “thrilled” at how the event went according to the New York Times.
The event, which required the campaign to coordinate closely with a network they have always been wary about, led to an extremely supportive audience that laughed at Trump’s jokes and joined him in jeering moderator Kaitlan Collins as she attempted to push back on false claims about the 2020 election.
Republicans and Democrats took to roundtables following the event to spin the outcome two different ways.
New York Congressman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called the event the outcome of a “serious of extremely irresponsible decisions” by CNN, and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) jabbed the network for instead focusing on the 2020 election when voters are more concerned about rising inflation and interest rates. Even CNN, hosting its own focus group of Republicans, presented opportunities for others to criticize the performance with one member blaming the host for trying to pin down Trump on false claims about the 2020 election rather than focus on 2024.
The predictable outcome was somewhat of a public launching pad for the former president’s nascent campaign, which has been complimented for its discipline and organization compared to his first successful run for the White House. Despite continuing to face lawsuits on multiple fronts, Trump has siphoned Republican voters away from his potential rivals and peeled off establishment endorsements as he prepares to capture the Republican nomination for a third time.