NBC announced this morning that it will be airing a 60-minute town hall on its network with Donald Trump, at the exact same time that Joe Biden will be participating in his own town-hall event on ABC. Originally, Trump and Biden were supposed to be debating on Thursday at 8 p.m., but then Trump and over a dozen other people in his circle tested positive for COVID-19 on October 2. In the wake of the president’s diagnosis, it was announced that the event would be virtual. Trump pulled out, and Biden scheduled his own town hall. Now, some people are furious that NBC would agree to give the president airtime to directly compete with Biden, and divide the audience.
Yes, NBC is gross for participating in Trump’s stunts for their own gain. Yes, they are very likely giving Trump a chance to talk about something he loves: TV ratings (the NBC event is also airing on CNBC and MSNBC, and will almost certainly pull more viewers). And he continues to use his platforms to spread extremely irresponsible misinformation, like continually touting his own “immunity” from the coronavirus (not true). But it’s also true that giving Trump a whole hour to ramble on — his exhausted corpus pumped full of Regeneron and steroids — could be illuminating to viewers in its own way. Let us examine some things the president has said in the past two weeks:
There was the time ranted about “tiny fish” on Hannity for God knows what reason:
“California is gonna have to ration water. You wanna know why? Because they send millions of gallons of water out to sea, out to the Pacific. Because they want to take care of certain little tiny fish, that aren’t doing very well without water.”
And what about how he can’t stop talking about kissing? See exhibit A, from a rally this week:
“I got to get out and I have to meet people and I have to see people, and I know it’s risky to do that. But you have to do what you have to do … Now I’m immune, they tell me, I’m immune. I could come down and start kissing everybody.”
“I could come down and start kissing everybody. Kiss every guy, man and woman, man and woman. Look at that guy, how handsome he is. I’ll kiss him. Not with as much enjoyment, but that’s okay.”
Given this very recent track record, we know exactly what to expect — some long-winded, nonsensical rants; some off-putting romantic gestures toward his supporters. Hopefully, this time, the moderator is actually able to cut him off when he starts making wildly unsubstantiated claims.
A previous version of this article stated that the NBC town hall with Donald Trump was 90 minutes. It has been corrected to reflect that the program is one hour.