President Trump took the stage at the Fox News Town Hall in Scranton, Pa., on Thursday evening, as the Democratic presidential field winnowed down to the rivals he has dubbed “Sleepy Joe” Biden and “Crazy Bernie” Sanders.
Trump wasted little time in criticizing ex-rival Elizabeth Warren’s decision to drop out of the race only after Super Tuesday, saying she may have sabotaged Sanders’ struggling presidential bid by siphoning the progressive vote.
“Bernie Sanders would have won five, six, seven states,” Trump remarked. “When you look at it, she did him no favors. That was not a good friendship. We started to see that during the debates, by the way. It became unhinged.”
Fielding questions in Biden’s hometown, Trump said the former vice president was “damaged” by the impeachment process that implicated his son Hunter in apparent overseas corruption. “They aimed at Trump and they took Biden down,” the president said.
“Here’s a guy, who didn’t have a job, unfortunately sadly the military was a very sad experience for him — he goes out and gets $3 million plus $183,000 a month to be a board member of a company that a lot of people said was corrupt. Just as bad, China — I just made a great China deal … His son walks out a China for a billion-and-a-half dollars for a fund.”
HUNTER BIDEN SCANDALS EXPLAINED: UKRAINE, COCAINE AND MORE
The Super Tuesday results, Trump said, had come as a surprise — especially given what he suggested were Biden’s possible cognitive impairments.
“I’m all set for Bernie, communist,” Trump began. “And then we have this crazy thing that happened on Tuesday, which he thought was Thursday. But he also said 150 million people were killed with guns, and that he was running for the U.S. Senate — there’s something going on there.”
The town hall covered an array of other topics, including stock market turbulence and deregulation. Out of the gate, Trump defended his administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, saying his decision to limit travel from China had averted a broader domestic crisis.
“I think people are viewing us as doing a very good job,” Trump told a questioner. “This started in China. How it started, is a question. … It’s gonna all work out. Everyone has to be calm.”
The president pointed to something of a silver lining in the episode: “People are now staying in the United States, spending their money in the United States, and I like that. You know, I’ve been after that for a long time. I’ve been saying, let’s stay in the U.S., spend your money here. It’s sort of enforced doing that.”
Responding to the threatening statements directed at Associate Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch on Wednesday by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Trump said the comments amounted to a call for physical violence.
“If a Republican did what Schumer did, they’d be in jail right now,” Trump said to applause.
The media, Trump argued, was “a part of the Democrat Party” to a “large extent” — and “we have to fight back.”
Hours before the town hall, Trump took his trademarked parting shots at Warren and Mike Bloomberg, whom Trump likened to an incompetent, undersized Darth Vader-style character from the 1987 parody “Spaceballs.” (Bloomberg had compared Trump to Vader with a video from the movie “Star Wars.”)
“Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren, who was going nowhere except into Mini Mike’s head, just dropped out of the Democrat Primary…THREE DAYS TOO LATE,” Trump wrote, referring to Warren’s previous claims of Native American ancestry. “She cost Crazy Bernie, at least, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas. Probably cost him the nomination! Came in third in Mass.”
The Fox News Town Hall in Biden’s hometown was Trump’s first town hall of the campaign season.
Speaking to Fox News’ “Hannity” on Wednesday night, Trump said he had a “hunch” that coronavirus’ mortality rate has been overstated, and that “hundreds of thousands of people” ultimately overcome the virus simply by “sitting around and going to work.” That statement has been widely misreported as implying that people with the virus should go to work.
The president also told Hannity that Schumer’s actions were a “disgrace,” after Schumer vowed that Supreme Court Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh “will pay the price” for their “awful decisions.”
Schumer was also rebuked by Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, left-wing law professor Laurence Tribe, the American Bar Association, and others. On Thursday, Schumer acknowledged he should have used different language, and insisted he was referring only to a “political” price.
“Schumer did it outside on the streets in front of a rough crowd,” Trump told anchor Sean Hannity. “It was a disgrace to the Supreme Court and to the U.S. Senate.”
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Fox News Channel will present an encore presentation of the Trump Town Hall at 11 p.m. ET. It was to be Trump’s first discussion with anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum since interviews in June 2018 and April 2017.