Donald Trump took full advantage of CNN’s willingness to give him a platform Wednesday night, spouting lies faster than a sprinkler on a cocaine bender and giving Americans a reminder — as if they needed one — of how deplorable he and his supporters can be.
Sexual abuse, like the kind a jury just found Trump liable of? That’s a laugh line for these folks. Literally. They laughed during CNN’s town hall as Trump continued to likely defame E. Jean Carroll, the woman he was just found liable of defaming.
The Jan. 6 domestic terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol? Trump said he’ll swiftly pardon most of the now-imprisoned attackers, possibly even some of the Proud Boys who were convicted of seditious conspiracy, because they’re “great people.” And that brought applause from the crowd.
Donald Trump used CNN town hall to lie and lie, then lie some more
A rat-a-tat-tat string of lies about the “rigged election”? The crowd chuckled.
A lie about “finishing” the border wall he barely started? You know, the one Mexico didn’t pay for. The crowd applauded.
Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie. Laugh, applaud, chuckle, clap, cheer.
CNN effectively gave America a primetime Trump rally with fewer people selling offensive T-shirts outside. And for anyone who grew weary of Trump’s reflexive dishonesty and bullheaded cruelty while he was president, Wednesday night brought back nauseating memories, as well as a preview of how little has changed.
CNN isn’t the problem, GOP is: Blaming CNN for hosting a Trump town hall gives Republicans a pass
Trump remains Trump, and the Republican Party remains enthralled by him
This is Trump. This is also the Republican Party right now. Trump leads in GOP presidential primary polls by about 30 points, and there’s little sign the party is ready to move in a more sane direction. Most Republicans in Congress, when asked this week about the outcome of the Carroll battery and defamation case, couldn’t muster a criticism.
GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama said the verdict against Trump “makes me want to vote for him twice.”
Who says something like that? A Trump Republican does.
Trump vs. Biden – again? Do we really want Biden vs. Trump again? Americans need a third choice for president.
CNN’s audience was stacked with Trump supporters who thought his cruelty was a hoot
The audience at CNN’s lie-a-palooza showed us exactly how devoted Trump’s base remains, how hungry they are for a faux-strong man whose deathly allergic to empathy.
CNN abandoned any claim to journalistic integrity by giving Trump so much free airtime. Host Kaitlan Collins tried to fact-check the former president, but she swiftly sank like a toddler in a ball pit of mendacity.
Maybe there’s value in witnessing Trump’s display of blathering dishonest
But maybe something good can come from such a visceral display of disreputableness.
Trump did nothing to change the minds of any voters who aren’t already part of his cult. But he made clear he hasn’t changed, that he lies as easily as he breathes and that he’ll never shut up about the 2020 presidential election he lost.
So Americans, I ask you, are you not entertained?
Because I’m not. I’m bored, mildly nauseous and still pretty ashamed we once gave that oaf the keys to country.
More from Rex Huppke:
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: CNN town hall gave Trump a platform to lie to voters. He delivered