Trump deflects questions about retaliation and lawlessness in town hall

Twice in a town hall on “Fox News” Tuesday night, Sean Hannity addressed former President Donald J. He asked Trump to categorically state that he will not abuse presidential power and retaliate against his political opponents if elected next year.

Both times, Mr. Trump refused to give an outright denial.

Firstly, Mr. Hannity, the moderator, asked Mr.

If re-elected president, do you have any plans to abuse power? Mr. Hannity asked. “Break the law? Using the government to go after people?

A frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, Mr. Trump was distracted. “You mean like they use now?” He responded, a reference to his claims that President Biden has weaponized the judiciary against him. He often lamented on the campaign trail that he had been indicted more times than gangster Al Capone.

But longtime Trump ally Mr. Hannity, clearly not satisfied, brought up the issue again five minutes later. “Tonight do you pledge to the United States that you will never abuse this power in retaliation against anyone?” he said.

“Except for Day 1,” Mr. Trump said breezily. There was a brief silence. “Besides—” mr. Hannity responded with some confusion.

“Look,” said Mr. Trump joked to a crowd watching him in Davenport, Iowa. “He’s going crazy.”

Mr. Hannity, Mr. Even as Trump tried to make it clear that he had no intention of abusing his office, Mr.

“This guy said, ‘You’re not going to be a dictator, are you?’ He says, “Mr. Trump, Mr. said, referring to Hannity. “I said, ‘No, no, no — except for Day 1.’

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Both exchanges underscore a growing challenge for some in Trump’s team, who are personally aware of growing anxiety among voters about his comments ahead of next year’s general election.

Mr. Biden’s campaign It sought to capture recent reports of plans by Trump and his allies to reshape the US presidency, vastly expand presidential power and upend central elements of the US government and the rule of law.

Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, said in a statement that Mr. Trump “has been telling us exactly what he’ll do if he’s re-elected, and tonight he said he’ll be a dictator on day one. Americans have to believe. Him.”

Mr. Trump’s comments were a stark departure from an interview in which he was mostly on friendly territory. Mr. Hannity has a long-standing relationship with Mr. They fondly recall past conversations regarding Trump’s political career.

To attend a fundraiser in Florida, Mr. In a debate that Trump is ignoring, Mr. Hannity and Mr. Didn’t ask Trump.

However, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley criticized her for receiving donations from Democrats and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for votes in Congress that she appeared to favor. Changing Social Security Benefits.

Jonathan Swan Contributed report.

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