Steve September 16, 2020

On Tuesday night, President Tweety McTreason appeared in a rare format for him: He took questions from voters during a ABC News town hall that was focused on policy.

It did not go well. At times, host George Stephanopoulos provided strong pushback to the president’s lies, though he let many of them pass without comment. But Trump struggled to discuss policy in a convincing or coherent way, and he was clearly unpracticed at confronting voters who weren’t devoted supporters.

And as ever, his astounding combination of ignorance and arrogance shone through.

Here are seven ridiculous moments from the event:

1. Trump couldn’t remember the word “herd immunity”

He continued to insist that the virus will “go away,” but he couldn’t even recall the term “herd immunity” that he was searching for — which is a dangerous and dubious goal anway.

Trump: You’ll develop like a herd mentality

— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) September 16, 2020

2. “I up-played it”

Even though Trump has admitted on tape that he was purposely downplaying the virus, he claimed the opposite on stage and made up a new word. Not only does it contradict his own admission, but anyone paying attention since February would know Trump has consistently downplayed the virus.

He tried to argue that his actions took the virus seriously even if his rhetoric didn’t, but in public health crises, clear and truthful public communication is one of the most important factors to get right.

Q: Why did you downplay coronavirus?

TRUMP: I didn’t downplay it. I up-played it

Q: Did you not admit to it yourself?

TRUMP: With China, I put a ban on

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 16, 2020

3. He claimed he didn’t have enough time to be presidential

It’s not clear why it would take any extra time at all, but if he’s short on time, he could cut back on tweeting and watching Fox News.

2016 Trump voter: “At times, some have called your behavior not presidential. What, if anything would you do differently if reelected…?”

Trump: “I am fighting a lot of forces. Sometimes you don’t have time to be totally, as you would say, presidential.”

— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) September 16, 2020

4. He blamed Democrats for not getting a mask mandate

Sometimes, the president has to be reminded that he is the president.

“They said at the Democrat Convention they’re gonna do a national [mask] mandate. They never did it.” — someone might want to inform Trump who the president is

He then tries to both-sides mask wearing, saying “a lot of people think that masks are not good.”

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 16, 2020

5. Trump said people should “fear” police and suggested that cops who had water poured on them should have gotten retribution

It was a disgusting comment, and Stephanopoulos unfortunately did not challenge it. In the context of calls for restraining police brutality, it’s grotesque and counterproductive to suggest cops should be seeking out vengeance for disrespectful actions. It also comes after Trump has repeatedly praised the extrajudicial killing of a suspect in a protest shooting.

Trump said police face hostilities and cites NYC police having water dumped on their heads by people who “had no fear.” “There was no retribution,” Trump says. Those police “should have really turned around and done something.”

— David Nakamura (@DavidNakamura) September 16, 2020

6. “I hope there’s not a race problem”

Trump was unable to acknowledge any serious racism in the United States. Which isn’t surprising, because he is racist.

“I hope there’s not a race problem” — Trump on systemic racism

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 16, 2020

7. “Stocks are owned by everybody”

Trump has sold himself as the president for the forgotten man and woman, and yet he boasts about the success of the stock market. And his claim is just wrong.

“Just over half of Americans own stock, according to 2020 polls,” CNN’s Daniel Dale pointed out.

“George, stocks are owned by everybody” — pressed on the fact that only half the jobs lost during the pandemic have come back, Trump quickly pivots to hyping the Dow

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 16, 2020

Bonus: Trump gets a brutal fact-check

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