If CNN’s leftist viewers hoped to see Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump self-destruct during Wednesday’s town hall event, they were probably sorely disappointed.
Throughout the event, the former president attracted vocal support from a seemingly friendly audience and landed several blows against moderator Kaitlan Collins.
A number of Trump’s most ardent critics reacted with equal parts shock and dismay over the fact that CNN would agree to provide a forum for him to make his case to American voters.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led the charge by accusing the cable news network of ignoring warnings “about this exact scenario,” asserting: “They let it happen anyway without a plan.”
She went on to essentially argue that Trump should not be allowed to appear on public airwaves, insisting that it is “dangerous” and “cannot be normalized” by media outlets like CNN.
“This, the choice to platform election disinformation, lies about January 6th, totally unchecked and reckless claims about abortion … they need to take ownership of what just happened,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
Of course, she was not alone in voicing outrage over the event. Former CNN host Brian Stelter took the opportunity to share a clip of MSNBC host Joe Scarborough’s horrified take on the matter.
CNN's town hall with Trump "was just disgraceful on every level," @JoeNBC says.
"The most shocking part" was seeing an audience "lapping it up."
"What I saw last night was as chilling as anything I've seen on television since January the 6th." pic.twitter.com/StpTk1TtUU
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 11, 2023
Perhaps unsurprisingly, “The View” co-host Joy Behar was not pleased by the warm reception Trump received. Although she initially supported CNN’s decision to host the town hall, she backtracked after the event aired.
“I was wrong,” she declared. “What I didn’t know was that the audience would be filled with his cult.”
She wondered if the network was “passing out Kool-Aid before the event started,” apparently referencing the more than 900 people who died in 1978 under the direction of cult leader Jim Jones.
Despite widespread blowback from the left, CNN CEO Chris Licht defended the decision in an editorial call on Thursday morning.
“I absolutely, unequivocally believe America was served very well by what we did last night,” he said. “Because it laid bare and created, in the words of Joe Scarborough, a political earthquake, and that people woke up and they know what the stakes are in this election in a way they didn’t the day before.”