Donald Trump lashed out at NBC News on Thursday, labeling it “fake” just hours before the network was set to air his controversial town hall special.
Trump had backed out of the debate scheduled for the same night after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the event would be held virtually. The president said he had no interest in participating, and Joe Biden instead scheduled a town hall that will be shown on ABC. Trump later scheduled his own event on NBC, though just hours before the broadcast began, he had some harsh words on Twitter for the network hosting him. You can view his post here.
“I will be doing a major Fake @NBCNews Town Hall Forum, live tonight from Miami, at 8:00 P.M.,” he wrote. “They asked me to do it in place of the Rigged Steve Scully (he is now suspended from @cspan for lying) Debate. I wonder if they’ll treat me as well as Sleepy Joe? They should!”
He made further remarks against NBCUniversal’s parent company at a campaign rally in North Carolina on Thursday, referring to Comcast as “Concast.”
NBC News has come under fire for agreeing to schedule an event with Trump at the same time that the Democratic candidate’s broadcast was already set to air. Many called on NBC to change the time so the two were not competing head-to-head, but it did not.
Many have lashed out, including journalist Carl Bernstein, who laid into NBC for getting “conned” by Trump.
How is that NBC News has allowed itself to get conned by Donald Trump and (as of 11 pm Wednesday) continues to abrogate the public trust by not re-scheduling or taping-and-delaying broadcast, or canceling if Trump continues to demand the network’s obeisance? (1/7)
— Carl Bernstein (@carlbernstein) October 15, 2020
Even some connected to the network have spoken out, including former NBC News executive Cheryl Gould, who said she was upset by the decision to go forward.
“I am dismayed—more like disgusted—by NBC’s decision to air Trump’s ‘I won’t play by the rules so let me make my own rules’ town hall opposite Biden’s,” she tweeted.
Trump has often referred to news outlets and journalists as “fake news” for critical coverage — an attack that has created considerable controversy and pushback from many First Amendment groups.
It was not clear what would happen with the final debate, which was originally set to take place on October 22. After backing out of the second one, Trump had not yet said whether he plans to take part in a third. His performance in the first was widely criticized as he frequently interrupted Biden and launched personal attacks against both the former vice president and his son, Hunter Biden, for his past drug addiction.