Kaitlan Collins hosting Donald Trump’s CNN town hall

new york –

Donald Trump’s City Hall Forum on CNN Wednesday will be the first major television event of the 2024 presidential election and a huge test for elected moderator Caitlan Collins.

Both sides of the political divide expressed skepticism when a CNN forum at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire was announced last week. Some Democrats question whether the former president should be given airtime, while Republicans question whether the networks Trump has long denigrated could be fair. thinking.

Once that begins, Collins must give the audience the opportunity to ask questions and decide when to intervene in her own story. Invited town hall attendees are the people we expect to vote in the Republican primary.

“It’s a balance beam and you can walk,” said former CNN Washington bureau chief Frank Cessno, now at George Washington University. “We will see if Caitran is worthy of the Olympics.”

CNN did not provide Collins with a speech before the event, which is scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday.

It speaks to Collins’ stature that she’s been tasked with a network that has no shortage of experienced political journalists, including Dana Bash, Anderson Cooper, Jake Tupper, and Chris Wallace. She used to work for The Daily Caller, a conservative website launched by Tucker Carlson, but in 2017 she became an occasional guest on CNN, becoming a full-time job. I was.

She covered the Trump White House and will be CNN’s White House correspondent in 2021. She moved to New York late last year to co-host “CNN This Morning.” For Collins, 31, who is currently in the mix for her role in CNN’s primetime lineup, Wednesday’s event could also be a significant audition.

“She took such a leap at such a young age because of her talent,” said Maggie Haberman, a New York Times correspondent and author of Trump’s biography, The Confidence Man. “She was a formidable White House correspondent, always calm under pressure, but she was incredibly impartial and fact-focused.”

Collins clashed with Trump’s White House.

As the morning anchor, she confirmed the facts on the spot.”That’s not true, Senator.

Alyssa Farrar-Griffin, a former member of Trump’s communications team and now a panelist on “The View,” said after the forum was announced that Collins was “one of the toughest interviews without Trump being called out.” Anyone who thinks she’s lying needs to see her past interviews. I was honestly surprised he agreed.

Surprisingly, it was the first time Trump appeared in an interview with CNN since before he was elected president in 2016.

During his tenure, Trump continued to denounce CNN as “fake news.” His CNN reputation among Republicans has plummeted, and the network’s new management has struggled among his supporters, even as he seeks to remain politically neutral.

Conservative PJ Media columnist Paula Boniard said, “It’s clear to anyone with half a brain that Trump doesn’t get his fair shake from CNN.” Are you going to keep prostrate before the left wing media hacking?”

A Trump adviser, who is not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said CNN executives made a compelling pitch to the former president. He points out that he has achieved success by stepping outside of his traditional comfort zone.

Meanwhile, many Trump opponents believe the man who continued to spread lies about fraud during his defeat to Biden in the 2020 election doesn’t deserve primetime exposure.

There were also deep-seated suspicions about CNN’s frequent coverage of Trump rallies before the 2016 election, which boosted the network’s ratings and gave the first-time candidate more airtime.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes said Wednesday on his show, which directly competes with Trump, “I find it very difficult to defend the choice of giving him a live platform.

CNN said the forum is part of the network’s long-standing tradition of hosting candidate interviews and events. Given Trump’s position in the polls with Republican voters, his candidacy cannot be ignored, according to the network.

It also reflects a new era of leadership in the network and management’s efforts to rebuild credibility as a nonpartisan news brand. To that end, his current CNN chairman and CEO, Chris Licht, has made it a goal to expand the network’s reach and ease tensions with Republicans.

Collins was chosen to host, in part, because she’s a rising star and has interviewed Trump first-hand. She will take the stage on Wednesday with a team of producers and fact-checkers offering advice through earpieces.

Sesno said CNN should make it clear in previous promotions that it’s a no-ban event where you can ask the former president any question. The ads the network is running are just a quick preview.

“I can’t imagine CNN or a New Hampshire Republican giving him a free pass,” Cessno said. “But if so, shame on you.”


Associated Press writer Michelle L. Price, of New York, contributed to this report.

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