On Wednesday evening, CNN began doing damage control in response to criticism of their town hall-style event featuring former President Donald Trump — releasing a statement defending moderator Kaitlan Collins.
The statement comes amid backlash from the left over their decision to host Trump, along with Collins allowing the former president to make statements that the left says should be censored because the remarks threaten “democracy.”
“Tonight Kaitlan Collins exemplified what it means to be a world-class journalist,” the network wrote. “She asked tough, fair and revealing questions. And she followed up and fact-checked President Trump in real time to arm voters with crucial information about his positions as he enters the 2024 election as the Republican frontrunner. That is CNN’s role and responsibility: to get answers and hold the powerful to account.”
"… to arm voters with crucial information about his positions as he enters the 2024 election as the Republican frontrunner. That is CNN’s role and responsibility: to get answers and hold the powerful to account."
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) May 11, 2023
During the event, Collins desperately tried to get Trump to speak favorably about Russia or Russian President Vladimir Putin, and pressed the former president about his claims surrounding the 2020 presidential election and the January 6 Capitol protests — which she repeatedly lied about.
There wasn't a bigger takeaway from tonights CNN Townhall than CNN's Kaitlan Collins blatantly LYING about President Trump's video telling people to go home and respect law and order.
These people are dishonest hacks, turn off the mainstream media. #RedVoiceMedia
— Matt Couch (@RealMattCouch) May 11, 2023
However, Collins “quickly lost control of the event,” according to the Daily Wire. Trump steamrolled over the CNN moderator, especially when her questions were obviously biased. At one point, her constant interruptions prompted Trump to call her a “nasty person.”
"Can I Talk?" – Crowd Goes Wild After Trump Calls CNN Host a 'Nasty Person'
Trump: "Are you ready? Can I talk?"
Kaitlan Collins: "Yeah, what's the answer?"
Trump: "Do you mind?"
Collins: "I would like you to answer the question."
Trump: "Okay, it's very simple to answer."… pic.twitter.com/oRlY2rvi6V
— The Vigilant Fox 🦊 (@VigilantFox) May 11, 2023
Collins’ much-criticized performance came just as reports began surfacing that CNN CEO Chris Licht planned to announce an offer for her to serve as the new host of CNN’s 9 p.m. primetime show — which used to be hosted by fired CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.
According to Puck News, Collins’ performance during the town hall event is not expected to have an impact on Licht’s offer — though the outlet did warn that with Trump, anything is possible. The outlet noted that CNN is expected to announce Collins’ new contract in the coming days.
As the Daily Wire noted, the promotion “would cap off Collins’ fast rise through the network from her time as a White House reporter who often got under the skin of former President Donald Trump to become a fresh face for the network’s primetime lineup.”