President Trump is back on the national stage. Last Thursday night’s town hall event at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he led a discussion moderated by Chuck Todd about domestic issues from border security to health care, should have delivered a stern reaction from the Trump administration’s defenders. The New York Times’s Carrie Budoff Brown, who moderated another town hall on gun control earlier in the week, declared that the president’s handling of the press was “nauseating.” The Washington Post noted the few general warm remarks and broad push-back and wrote, “It was an effort to appear sensitive to the concerns of vulnerable segments of the electorate that he routinely alienates with his brazen rhetoric.”
But few expected a particularly strong challenge from NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, who has been one of the most high-profile voices of the resistance to Trump, regularly reporting from the White House, traveling with the president and filling out the White House press pool since he became president. After standing firmly and assertively during the press conference last month, when Mr. Trump called the press dishonest and un-American, the network’s coverage grew more barbed, from a quote from Vice President Mike Pence on “Morning Joe” declaring that the “mainstream media is in a full-on meltdown” to the widely circulated headline that referred to Mr. Trump as a “dangerous man on the world stage.”
So Guthrie’s turn to lead the panel, not to mention her 21-minute interview with Mr. Trump that was virtually the entire show, was an unexpected relief to the Fox News-watching audience, who had felt like they had a choice between the president and Charlie Rose. In fact, when Mr. Trump was asked for three questions, only one went to the White House press corps, and the first two went to Guthrie.
Read the full story at The New York Times.
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