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Trump Talks Obama, Coronavirus, Insults in TV Town Hall

'When they hit us, we have to hit back'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 6, 2020 2:31 AM CST

(Newser) – President Trump defended the administration's response to the coronavirus and his confrontational style of name-calling political opponents as he fielded questions Thursday from select members of the public in his first TV town hall of the 2020 election cycle. Trump, who regularly calls his top Democratic presidential opponents "Sleepy Joe" and "Crazy Bernie," was asked whether he could deliver his message without the controversial rhetoric. "When they hit us, we have to hit back. I really feel that," Trump said. "You can't turn your cheek." Fox News hosted the live event in Scranton, Pennsylvania, a rare instance where the president answered questions from the public. Tickets to the town hall were distributed through the Eventbrite website and Fox confirmed questions were selected from people who submitted them via the website.

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The first question was about the administration's response to the virus. "Everybody has to be calm. It's all going to work out," Trump said, sounding defensive at times as a pair of Fox News journalists pressed him on the issue. "We hope it doesn't last too long." Trump fielded other questions about immigration, health care, federal regulations and more, the AP reports. Asked if he cared about the national debt, which has grown under his tenure despite a chugging economy, Trump said he would focus on the issue in a second term and shifted blame to Barack Obama. Trump said he last spoke with his predecessor at the funeral of George HW Bush. "I sat next to him and I said 'Hello,' and then I said 'Goodbye,'" Trump said, as the audience laughed at his tone. "I didn't like the job he did."

(Read more President Trump stories.)

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