Like much of this year, the 2020 presidential debates have been unprecedented, to say the least. The first—and so far, only—debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden quickly descended into chaos as Trump repeatedly interrupted both Biden and the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, who was unable to take control of the debate or stop Trump from steamrolling over the evening.
But during Trump's town hall on Thursday—one that aired at the same time as Biden's own on ABC—the president was faced with a new kind of moderator: NBC's Savannah Guthrie. Guthrie came ready, calling Trump out on his inconsistencies and lies, delivering pointed questions and then following up when he tried to deflect. And, of course, Twitter took notice:
The second debate:— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) October 16, 2020
President Trump vs. Savannah Guthrie
Savannah Guthrie just compared Trump to someone's crazy uncle to his face. She is destroying him.— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) October 16, 2020
Savannah Guthrie is doing what I’ve been waiting four years for someone to do.— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) October 16, 2020
.@SavannahGuthrie deserves a Superwoman cape. This is what a real moderator looks like.— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) October 16, 2020
Savannah Guthrie came prepared.— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) October 16, 2020
Trump is not doing well at all with a woman holding his feet to the fire.— Angry Staffer (@AngrierWHStaff) October 16, 2020
Bravo, @SavannahGuthrie, but Jesus, this is a shitshow.
It's not easy to moderate a discussion with the president, but @SavannahGuthrie came prepared and did a great job.— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 16, 2020
Savannah Guthrie for the win.— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) October 16, 2020
Trump talking about retweeting conspiracy theories and Savannah nails him with a “You're not like someone's crazy uncle who can retweet whatever”... pic.twitter.com/P5kiywvTHR
.@SavannahGuthrie asking the Qs we all need answered right now.— Erica Hill (@EricaRHill) October 16, 2020
Guthrie brought up a number of lingering questions, including whether Trump had tested negative for COVID-19 the night of the first debate. (He announced his positive test just two days later, though it's been unclear the last time he tested negative before then.)
Pres Trump tells Savannah Guthrie that he has no more symptoms. She asks when his last negative test was & Trump says he tests all the time but isn’t answering directly when he last tested negative. He adds he “possibly” did & “possibly didn’t” get tested the day of last debate.— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) October 16, 2020
GUTHRIE: "You don’t know if you took a test the day of the debate?"— The Recount (@therecount) October 16, 2020
TRUMP: "Possibly I did, possibly I didn’t." pic.twitter.com/zfqtYQkzV1
She also asked about a recent New York Times report that stated Trump only paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and questioned why he refuses to release his tax returns:
Savannah Guthrie: "It also said you paid $750 in taxes in the year you were elected. Was that true?"— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) October 16, 2020
Trump: "It’s a statutory number."
Guthrie: "Is that true?"
Trump: "I think that’s a filing number... I don't owe money to any sinister people!" pic.twitter.com/SLd7I7LIgy
Savannah Guthrie, whose follow-ups are 🔥, just got Trump to acknowledge that "an audit" is not what's preventing him from releasing his tax returns. He's not releasing them because it's just "common sense", Trump said.— Taniel (@Taniel) October 16, 2020
.@SavannahGuthrie just got Trump to confirm more parts of The NY Times tax story, including the $750 income tax and the $421 million in loans.— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) October 16, 2020
She asked why Trump has previously seemed hesitant to denounce white supremacy:
And then asked whether he would denounce QAnon:
Here’s video of Trump refusing to denounce QAnon at the NBC town hall pic.twitter.com/BmSHGYSlxO— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 16, 2020
As one Twitter user wrote: "Savannah Guthrie for the win."
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