Below are some of the biggest moments of the night.

Keep denying the choice

In initial questioning by town hall, Collins said Republican election officials questioned Trump’s claims about the election. She dodged the pushback, questioning which officials had said so much. Numerous officials, studies, and reviews have confirmed that Trump lost the election.

“I think it’s a shame what happened. I think it’s a very sad thing for our country. Frankly, I think it’s a very sad thing for the world, because if you look at what has happened to our country, our country has gone to hell,» Trump said.

In a follow-up question, an audience member asked if Trump would «suspend polarizing talks about voter fraud» during the 2024 presidential election.

Trump responded by saying, “yes, unless he sees voter fraud.”

“I hope we have very honest elections,” he said. “We should have voter ID, we should have one-day elections, we should have paper ballots instead of these mail-in votes. But the answer is yes, and I hope it’s very direct, because if it’s going to be direct, we’ll win the elections.»

Bowing on January 6

The January 6 insurrection was a “beautiful day,” Trump declared.

Pressed on the matter, he added: “I have never spoken to a crowd as large as this, and that was because they thought the election was rigged. And they were there proud. They were there with love in their hearts. That was amazing and it was a beautiful day.”

Trump said he has no regrets about the riot that left five dead and halted proceedings to confirm Joe Biden’s election. He expressed empathy for Ashli ​​Babbitt, who was fatally shot at the capitol that day.

“She was killed and she shouldn’t have been killed,” he said. “And that thug who killed her, there was no reason to shoot her point blank, she was shot cold point blank, and she was a good person. She was a patriot. There was no reason.

Trump responds to E. Jean Carroll

Trump dismissed claims made by former advice columnist E. Jean Carroll that she was sexually assaulted by him in the dressing room of Manhattan’s upscale Bergdorf Goodman department store years ago.

Trump claimed he did not know Carroll. And when asked if the case disqualified him from being president, he replied that his numbers in the polls «went up.»

CNN’s town hall comes just one day after a federal jury in Manhattan found Trump liable for sexual assault and defamation and awarded Carroll $5 million in damages. Trump was not found responsible for rape. Trump’s lawyer said they planned to appeal.

Trump went on to joke about Carroll’s claims, calling it a «false story.»

«What kind of woman meets someone and brings it up and within minutes you’re playing hanky-panky in a dressing room, okay?» he said. «I don’t know if she was married then or not.»

And while I was at it

Trump also defended his most infamous comments, made on an Access Hollywood videotape discovered just before the 2016 election, that when you’re a star, women «let you do» anything, including «grab them by the p— «.

“I can take it back if you want, but if it’s a famous person, if it’s a star, and I don’t mean me, I mean people who are famous, people who are stars, rich people, powerful people, they tend to do pretty well. in many different ways, okay? Trump said. “I can’t take it back because it happens to be true. I’ve said it’s been true for 1 million years, about 1 million years, maybe a little longer than that.»

A reversal of the debt ceiling

Trump said congressional Republicans should be open to default in the debt ceiling fight.

“We might as well do it now because you will do it later because we have to save this country. our country is dying,” she said.

When Collins pointed out that Trump had said that, as president, it was wrong for Democrats to use the possibility of default as a bargaining tactic, he countered that he had said that
“when I was president”.

«So why is it different now?» Collins asked»Because I’m not president,» Trump replied.

abortion

A member of the audience asked Trump how he plans to appeal to women concerned about abortion after the 2022 crisis. Jackson vs. Dobbs Ruling of the Supreme Court that annulled Roe vs. Wade and gave states the power to regulate abortion.

Trump, who hasn’t been very clear about his position on abortion beyond saying he’s a pro-life champion and would only support laws that allow for exceptions, called Dobbs’ decision «a huge victory.»

«Get rid of roe v wade It was an amazing thing for pro-lifers because it gave pro-lifers something to bargain with,” Trump said. «I believe in exceptions, the life of the mother, rape, incest as Ronald Reagan believed in exceptions.»

Trump did not say whether he would sign a federal abortion ban, like the 15-week bill his congressional ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, (RS.C.) has proposed when asked precisely whether or not he would support such a bill. federal law or at what point in a pregnancy abortion should be illegal, Trump said: «It depends on what the deal is.» He avoided defining his position.

As Collins introduced the first commercial break, Trump was heard saying into the microphone: «I’ll make the right decision.»

Before the town hall, Trump met with Marjorie Dannenfelser, a prominent anti-abortion activist, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, at Mar-a-Lago along with Graham and Tony Perkins, a Trump ally and council chief. Family Research. The group discussed federal abortion legislation at the meeting and, according to Dannenfelser, Trump reiterated that any federal abortion legislation must require exceptions.