News USA Trump again refuses to concede 2020 election during CNN’s Republican forum in...

Trump again refuses to concede 2020 election during CNN’s Republican forum in New Hampshire

(CNN) — Former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential bid, has once again refused to admit he lost the 2020 election and repeated his false claims about fraud on a CNN Republican forum in New Hampshire on Wednesday.

During the forum, which was moderated by “CNN This Morning” host Kaitlan Collins, Trump fielded questions from Republicans and undeclared voters at Saint Anselm College. In one of his responses, the former president also said that he would pardon “a large part” of the rioters who stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, while downplaying his role in the insurrection.

Trump even took out a printout of his own tweets on Jan. 6, in an attempt to deflect responsibility when pressed by Collins about why he waited three hours before telling agitators to leave the Capitol.

The forum, his first appearance on CNN since 2016, comes as several unprecedented legal looms over Trump. Also when he seeks to become the second president of the United States elected to two non-consecutive terms. New Hampshire, home to the first Republican primary in the nation, is the state of many undecided voters. Trump handily won primaries there in 2016 and 2020, before losing the state in both general elections.

The former president also dismissed the significance of a Manhattan federal jury verdict Tuesday that he sexually assaulted former E. Magazine columnist Jean Carroll in the dressing room of a luxury department store in 1996, awarding her $5 million. for assault and defamation.

On Wednesday night, Trump again stated that he did not know Carroll. Asked if the jury’s decision would discourage women from voting for him, he said: “No, I don’t think so.”

Trump also fielded questions from New Hampshire voters on economic and political issues, such as abortion. The former president, who bolstered the conservative majority on the Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade last year, repeatedly refused to say whether he would sign a federal abortion ban if he returned to the White House.

Trump also suggested that Republicans should refuse to raise the debt limit if the White House disagrees with the spending cuts.

“I tell the Republicans — congressmen, senators — that if they don’t give them massive cuts, they’re going to have to default, and I don’t think they’re going to default because I think the Democrats will completely cave in, completely cave in because You don’t want that to happen, but it’s better than what we’re doing now because we’re spending money like drunken sailors,” Trump said.

Asked by Collins to clarify whether the US should stop paying if the White House doesn’t agree to the cuts, Trump said: “It’s better we do it now than we do it later.”

Trump faces multiple investigations

In April, Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. The former president also faces legal troubles both in Washington, D.C. — where a special prosecutor is leading a pair of investigations against him — and in Georgia, where the Fulton County district attorney plans to announce charges this summer in connection with the investigation. about efforts to nullify the 2020 election in that state.

Still, the former president, who survived two impeachments, has repeatedly said that any charge will not prevent him from running for president again. He has also dismissed all investigations against him as politically motivated witch hunts. That’s a view shared by many Republican voters, according to recent polls. Nearly 70% of voters in the Republican primary said in a recent NBC News poll that the investigations against Trump “are politically motivated” and that “no other candidate is like him, we should support him.”

Although a handful of rivals have entered as contenders in the Republican presidential primary — and Trump’s biggest potential rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, has yet to officially announce that he is joining the race — Trump has maintained a lead. healthy in early polls. In a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday, 43% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents nominated Trump spontaneously when asked who they’d like the party to nominate by 2024, compared with 20% who named DeSantis and 2% or less who named other candidates.

Trump’s participation in the CNN forum suggests a broader campaign strategy to try to expand his appeal beyond conservative media viewers, CNN’s Kristen Holmes reported Wednesday. He has surrounded himself with a more organized team and has been holding smaller political events compared to big rallies, signs of a more traditional campaign than those of 2016 and 2020. The 2020 race he lost by around 7 million votes, though continues to falsely claim that there was fraud.

There have also been warning signs for the Republican Party that the obsession with the 2020 election is not being accepted beyond the grassroots. Many of Trump’s backed candidates, who bought into his electoral lies in swing states, lost the midterms last year. And his advisers acknowledge that he still has work to do to engage with Republican voters outside of his loyal fan base, multiple sources told CNN.

This is Trump’s third trip to New Hampshire since he launched his campaign last fall.

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