Former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts after arriving at Aberdeen International Airport in Aberdeen, Scotland, Britain, May 1, 2023. Photo by Reuters/Russell Cheyne
Former President Donald Trump said he would pardon many supporters convicted for their involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol in a contentious CNN town hall on Wednesday.
When asked by CNN host Kaitlan Collins whether he would acknowledge that he lost to Democrat Joe Biden in 2020, the Republican Trump launched a tirade, reasserting false claims that the election was rigged against him.
“It was a horrible election,” Trump said, eliciting applause from some in attendance at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, an early nominating state that could prove critical in his bid for a second White House term in 2024.
His standing firm on his false claims about the 2020 elections defied concerns of Republican Party officials that his dwelling on his loss could cost the party support among Republican voters who want to move on and focus on more pressing issues. Biden has said he will seek a second term in 2024.
Trump declined to express regret for the deadly attack on the US Capitol when supporters sought to prevent Congress for ratifying the election result, and he repeated his plan to pardon individuals involved if voters return him to the White House in 2024.
“I am inclined to pardon many of them. I can’t say for every single one because a couple of them probably they got out of control,” Trump said.
Trump and Collins frequently interrupted each other with Collins challenging a number of the former president’s false claims about the 2020 election and the attack on Jan 6 which followed a speech he gave outside the White House that day.
“I’ve never spoken to a crowd as large as that, and that was because they thought the election was rigged. They were there with love in their heart. That was unbelievable, and it was a beautiful day.”
The audience of New Hampshire Republicans and independent voters who plan to vote in the Republican primary were generally very supportive of Trump, giving him a standing ovation when he took to the stage.
Collins tried to fact-check Trump’s assertions in real time, sometimes leading to the two talking over each other as Trump refused to back down.
About Tuesday’s jury verdict that found Trump liable for sexually abusing magazine writer E. Jean Carroll in the 1990s and then defaming her, Trump again issued a denial.
Trump, who was absent throughout the two-week trial, was asked by an audience member what he had to say to voters who say it disqualifies him from being president.
“Well, there aren’t too many of them because my poll numbers just came out. They went up.”