Trump said his November 10, 2016 with Obama in the Oval Office was ‘essentially’ their only meeting.
‘Enough for me,’ he noted.
He also said the last time he spoke to Obama was at former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral on December 5, 2018, at Washington National Cathedral.
‘I was at the funeral of President Bush, sat next to him, I said “hello.” And then I said “Goodbye.” That’s about it. No, I didn’t like the job he did,’ the president added.
President Donald Trump launched a vicious attack on his predecessor Barack Obama during his Fox News town hall
President-elect Trump and President Obama in the Oval Office on November 10, 2016
President Donald Trump shakes hands with former President Barack Obama during the State Funeral service for former President George H.W. Bush at Washington National Cathedral i on Dec. 5, 2018
President Trump started off his first town hall meeting of the election year by defending his administration’s response to the Coronavirus and again blaming President Barack Obama for the lack of testing kits, a claim that has been debunked.
‘I don’t blame anybody,’ he said when asked why he blamed Obama. ‘I want to get everybody to understand they made some decisions which were not good decisions. We inherited decisions they made and that’s fine. We undid some of the regulations that made it very difficult.’
Trump, who has occupied the White House for three years, tried to deflect criticism of his administration’s response to the disease by blaming Obama for a federal regulation that made it harder to enact widespread testing – an accusation that has been shown not to be true.
And Vice President Mike Pence admitted on Thursday the administration will not be able to follow meet its promise to deliver one million coronavirus testing kits by the end of the week.
‘We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate the demand going forward,’ Pence said during a visit to a 3M Company plant in Minnesota Thursday afternoon.
President Trump greets attendees at a Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pa
President Donald Trump speaks during a FOX News Channel Town Hall, co-moderated by FNC’s chief political anchor Bret Baier of Special Report and The Story anchor Martha MacCallum
Trump, at his town hall, argued the United States has a low number of cases and deaths compared to the rest of the world.
‘Right now — it’s a lot of people but it’s still 11 people versus tremendous numbers of thousands of people that have died all over the world. We have 11. We have 149 cases as of this moment, it’s 129, I just see right now it’s 100,000 cases around the world,’ he said.
And he pointed out the White House was working on other issues too.
‘We’re thinking about a lot of other things too, trade and millions of other things,’ he said of his administration.
‘It’s going to all work out, everybody has to be calm, it’s going to work out,’ he added.
President Trump repeated his criticism of Elizabeth Warren staying in the presidential race through Super Tuesday. Warren exited the contest on Thursday. Trump argued Bernie Sanders would have done better in Tuesday’s 15 contests if she was not in the contest.
‘If she’s a true progressive which probably she is, she should have dropped out three days ago. It would’ve been a whole different race,’ he said. ‘Bernie Sanders would have won five, six, seven states. Would have won Minnesota, would have won at least another two or three states. When you look at it, she did him no favors, that was not a good friendship.’
He added: ‘She didn’t even have to endorse him, if she just dropped out of the race without an endorsement, he would’ve won a tremendous number of states that he lost, he lost states by not very much and she got enough votes that it would’ve made a big difference. I think he would be leading by a lot right now had she not been in the race.
He said he was prepared to run against Bernie Sanders this fall.
‘I was all set for Bernie because I thought it was going to happen. We get ready for things, mentally I’m all set for Bernie, the communist, I had everything down. I was all set,’ he said.
He argued the Vermont senator would be the tougher candidate because of his strong base of supporters.
‘I think in a certain way, Bernie would be tougher because he’s got a base. It’s a smaller base than my base,’ he said. ‘I was all set for Bernie. I don’t think I’m running against Bernie. I think it’s going to be very hard for him to come back,’ he said.
President Trump repeated his criticism of Elizabeth Warren staying in the Democratic race through Super Tuesday, saying it hurt Bernie Sanders
President Trump also said he was prepared to run against Bernie Sanders in the general election
But Trump conceded he was probably going to face Joe Biden in November
He also blasted Democrats for their impeachment inquiry saying: ‘It was a fake impeachment.’ The line earned him enormous applause from the crowd.
Trump also attacked Joe Biden, who was born in the Scranton, the site of Thursday’s town hall, and slammed Hunter Biden’s work on the board of Ukrainian gas company and with a Chinese investment firm.
During the first commercial break, the crowd yelled ‘four more years, four more years’ and one person yelled to Trump: ‘Thank you Mr. President.’
The president also shrugged off a question on whether or not the country is divided and politics is too vitriol.
‘I think the country is far more united than people think and ultimately what is uniting the country’s success. We are having more success than we have ever had,’ he said.
Before the town hall started, White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, a Philadelphia Eagles fan with strong ties to the state, was given a round of applause when she walked into the hall with David Urban, who ran Trump’s Pennsylvania campaign during the 2016 election.
‘Thanks for taking care of our president, Kellyanne,’ one person yelled.
Conway took several selfies with people before taking her seat. The hall was filled with about 600 people.
Protesters lined the streets ahead of the Scranton Cultural Center to yell at the president’s motorcade. They waved miniature baby Trump blimp balloons and held up signs that read ‘Trump is Putin’s puppet,’ ‘Dump Trump,’ and ‘Weld 2020,’ in reference to former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who is also running for the Republican presidential nomination.
A large billboard with a photo of Joe Biden, reading ‘Scranton is Biden Country,’ also greeted the president.
Fox News confirmed to DailyMail.com that it was Trump’s team that picked the city for the town hall and that the location is always the candidate’s choice whether that person is a Democratic contender or Republican one.
Pennsylvania helped hand Trump the presidency in 2016 and he needs it in his column again this November.
President Trump’s campaign picked the Scranton location for his Thursday night town hall
Scranton is Joe Biden’s home town and Trump heads there as Biden surged to the front of the Democratic primary race
Trump was the first Republican candidate for president to carry Pennsylvania since George H. W. Bush in 1988. He won the state by just 44,000 votes.
‘There’s not a very likely path to the presidency without Pennsylvania,’ a source close to the Trump campaign told DailyMail.com.
Thursday’s town hall is the first such event of Trump’s re-election campaign. And while Trump has publicly stated he’s indifferent to whom he faces in November, many Republicans see Biden as the strongest challenger to the president thanks to both men’s appeal to the blue-collar voters who make up the industrial MidWest.
Biden has not yet held a town hall with Fox News and his front runner status grew stronger on Thursday after Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the Democratic race although she has declined to endorse a candidate yet.
And the former vice president is investing heavily in Pennsylvania, headquartering his campaign in Philadelphia, and he held his the first rally of his presidential campaign in Scranton last year.
‘I think the one thing the president doesn’t want to do, from the very beginning, is face me. Because I will beat him — period. Period. He’s done everything in his power, he’s even risked his presidency, because he doesn’t want to face me,’ Biden told NBC’s ‘Today Show’ on Thursday morning.
‘Have you ever, ever seen a sitting president get so involved in a Democratic primary and focus so much attention on not wanting a single person – me – to become the nominee. The president does not want me to be the nominee,’ he added.
But the source close to the Trump campaign argued Sanders’ has his strengths too as the person took a knock at one of Biden’s strengths – his service with Barack Obama.
‘The enthusiasm of the Bernie Sanders’ voters is much more frightening than the establishment of Joe Biden,’ the source said. ‘Joe Biden is running on a third term as Barack Obama.’
For Thursday night’s town hall, audience members submitted the questions ahead of time and a Fox News team picks the ones asked, the network confirmed, with no input from the White House or the Trump campaign.
Fox News’ Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum will moderate the event at the Scranton Cultural Center.
The town hall comes less than 24 hours after the president called into Fox News Wednesday night to talk to Sean Hannity about a variety of topics, including his administration’s handling of the Coronavirus outbreak and the 2020 presidential field.
Trump used the interview to rehash some of his favorite attack lines on the former vice president, including criticism of Hunter Biden’s work in the Ukraine.
The president and his allies allege Biden, as vice president, pushed the Ukrainian government’s removal of a prosecutor to help a gas company that had Hunter on its board. Biden said he was following recommendations of both the Obama White House and international governments – all of whom were concerned the prosecutor in question was not doing enough to fight corruption.
Neither Biden has been charged with any wrong doing.
On Wednesday, Trump accused the Democratic Party of engaging in a coverup for Biden.
‘It’s not a campaign issue for the Democrats. They don’t want to bring it up. They were obviously told you can’t bring that up,’ he told Fox News.
But he vowed to keep the issue front and center.
‘That will be a major issue in the campaign. I will bring that up all the time, because I don’t see any way out. I don’t see any way for them, I don’t see how they can answer those questions,’ he said.
The president also has been a repeated commentator and handicapper of the Democratic field.
He’s accused the party of trying to deny Bernie Sanders the nomination, reviving anger from the 2016 contest when Sanders supporters were furious that party worked to ensure Hillary Clinton was the nominee.
Many Democratic officials worry Sanders’s progressive policy positions would turn off blue-collar voters in the general election.
‘Well, I think there’s no question the establishment – the Democrat establishment – is trying to take it away from Bernie Sanders. There’s no question about that in my mind,’ Trump said Tuesday outside the White House as voters from 14 states and American Samoa head to the polls for Super Tuesday.
President Trump’s town hall comes 24 hours after he called into Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, where he vowed to keep criticizing Joe and Hunter Biden
President Trump accused the Democratic Party of engaging in a coverup for Joe and Hunter Biden
Biden sweep most of the contests on Super Tuesday and emerged with front runner status even though Sanders won the night’s biggest prize – California.
The former vice president also solidified his support among his formal rivals, gaining endorsements from Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke and Mike Bloomberg.
Trump on Tuesday shrugged off a question about which Democratic contender he’d prefer to see across from him on the debate stage this fall.
‘Whoever it is, I don’t care, I really don’t care,’ he said.