Top Takeaways: Trump’s NBC News Town Hall

Trump’s town hall tonight was a mess filled with endless lies, endless interrupting, and endless embarrassment — so we boiled it down to four key takeaways:

1. Trump refused to denounce the QAnon conspiracy theory that his own FBI calls a domestic terror threat.

Washington Post: “When Trump declined to denounce QAnon because he said he didn’t know what it was about, Guthrie provided details about what it was about and invited him to do it, noting Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) has flatly denounced it as a deranged conspiracy. But Trump instead offered that he liked that QAnon was against pedophilia.”

2. Trump refused to confirm he took a required coronavirus test before the first presidential debate or answer when his last negative test was before testing positive.

Washington Post: “To kick off the Trump townhall, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie tried to nail down the timeline of Trump’s coronavirus infection, including whether he had been tested the day he debated Biden. Trump said he ‘felt fantastically’ on the night of the debate but couldn’t remember if he’d been tested ahead of it, but said he’s tested all the time.”

3. Trump attacked mask wearing and lied that 85 percent of people who wear masks catch the virus.

USA Today: “Asked about whether contracting the virus changed his opinion about wearing a mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, the president said: ‘No, I was good with it but I’ve heard many different stories of masks.’ He continues to insist that wearing a mask is a personal choice even as health officials have said it’s a critical safety protocol to mitigate the spread of the virus. Guthrie pressed Trump on the issue, noting that his task force cites the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which says that if everyone wore a mask it could cut the death rate in half. More than 215,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 so far.”

NBC News: “Trump wrongly characterized a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study Thursday evening when he claimed that ‘they came out with a statement that 85 percent of people who wear masks catch’ the coronavirus.”

4. Trump made it clear that he owes $400 million in debt but wouldn’t divulge who he owes it to, despite his promises to the contrary.

USA Today: “In an extended discussion about his taxes, President Donald Trump repeatedly declined to deny that he owed entities $400 million and also said twice he would tell Americans who he owes that money to.”

New York Times: “When asked if he owed anything to foreign banks in any other country, Mr. Trump offered this: ‘Not that I know of, but I will probably.’”