Former president Donald Trump was clear about how he expects to be treated by CNN a few hours before his town hall-style interview was set for 8 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday night.
The town hall is Trump’s first appearance on CNN since his presidential campaign in 2016. The former president, who is now running his third presidential campaign, has often criticized the network as “fake news”, a moniker saved for networks publishing stories with which he disagrees. The event comes only a day after Trump was found liable for sexual abuse and defamation against writer E. Jean Carroll, an aspect that had some boycotting CNN for giving Trump a national platform after such an emotional trial and ruling.
The town hall is taking place in New Hampshire, one of the first states that will vote in the 2024 primary, of which Trump is a leading GOP candidate. During the interview, Trump will answer questions from moderator Kaitlan Collins. He also will be questioned by an audience consisting of likely GOP voters.
Trump has been at odds with CNN since his first presidential campaign, and he often criticizes the network but admitted CNN offered him an opportunity he couldn’t refuse. Despite agreeing to the town hall, Trump issued a warning to the network just a few hours before he was scheduled to appear.
“Heading to the Great State of New Hampshire. CNN LIVE, Tonight, 8:00 P.M. Is CNN making a comeback, or is it just a charade?” Trump posted on Truth Social Wednesday afternoon. “They must treat MAGA, the greatest political movement in our Country’s history, with respect. I think they will, but we will soon find out? Big long term opportunity for CNN!!!”
Recent changes at CNN have led to several Republicans, including Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, speculating that the network is shifting toward a “cultural move”, specifically after firing host Don Lemon.
Trump has voiced his concerns about the interview with the network as well. He also didn’t hesitate to throw in a few negative remarks about CNN.
“I’ll be doing CNN tomorrow night, LIVE from the Great State of New Hampshire, because they are rightfully desperate to get those fantastic (TRUMP!) ratings once again. They made me a deal I couldn’t refuse!!! Could be the beginning of a New & Vibrant CNN, with no more Fake News, or it could turn into a disaster for all, including me. Let’s see what happens?” Trump posted on Truth Social on Tuesday.
Newsweek reached out to a spokesperson for Trump’s campaign by email for comment.
Update 05/10/23 8:05 p.m. ET: This article was updated with additional information.