trump fact check
Clinton, abortion, border wall: CNN fact-checks Donald Trump after town hall
02:12 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Read the full transcript of CNN’s presidential town hall with former President Donald Trump moderated by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins at Saint Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Good evening, and welcome to New Hampshire, the first GOP primary state.

We’re live here at Saint Anselm College for CNN’s town hall with former President Donald Trump. I’m Kaitlan Collins.

Tonight, President Trump is here as he embarks on a campaign unlike any other in the history of U.S. presidential elections. He’s the first former president in more than a century to seek a return to the White House. And he is currently leading the Republican field, while also facing multiple criminal investigations and an indictment.

Just yesterday, he was found liable for sexual abuse and defamation. No questions are off the table, and we agreed to no conditions. We’re here to give voters the answers that they deserve. Our audience is made up of Republicans and undeclared voters who plan to take part in New Hampshire’s Republican primary.

They will get the chance to question the former president directly. These voters and the issues that they care about the most will help decide if former President Trump will get a second chance to take on President Joe Biden.

Please welcome the front-runner for the Republican nomination, former President Donald Trump.


TRUMP: Thank you.

COLLINS: How are you? Thank you for being here tonight.

TRUMP: How nice to see you.

TRUMP: Thank you.

COLLINS: You have got quite a crowd.

TRUMP: Thank you.

COLLINS: President Trump, thank you for your time here tonight.

TRUMP: Thank you.

COLLINS: We got a great crowd here in New Hampshire, a lot of voters with a lot of questions about what your 2024 term would look like, what another Trump term would look like.

We will get to the voters shortly, but your polls show that you are dominating the Republican race right now, but you are also under active federal investigation for trying to overturn the 2020 election results. Your first term ended with a deadly riot at the Capitol, and you still have not publicly acknowledged the 2020 election results.

Why should Americans put you back in the White House?

TRUMP: Because we did fantastically. We got 12 million more votes than we had in – as you know, in 2016. I actually say we did far better in that election, got the most that anybody’s ever gotten as a sitting president of the United States.

I think that, when you look at that result and when you look at what happened during that election, unless you’re a very stupid person, you see what happens.

A lot of the people – a lot of the people in this audience and perhaps maybe a couple that don’t, but most people understand what happened.

That was a rigged election, and it’s a shame that we had to go through it. It’s very bad for our country. All over the world, they looked at it, and they saw exactly what everyone else saw. And you look – even if you just look recently with the 51 intelligence agents, that made a 16-point difference.

If you look at the FBI…

COLLINS: But, Mr. President…

TRUMP: If you look at the FBI and Twitter – they call it Twitter Files – made a big difference.

If you look at True the Vote…

COLLINS: Mr. President, back to what you just said there, though, it was not a rigged election. It was not a stolen election.

You and your supporters lost more than 60 court cases on the election. And it’s been nearly two-and-a-half years. Can you publicly acknowledge that you did lose the 2020 election?

TRUMP: Now, let me – let me just go on.

If you look at True the Vote, they found millions of votes on camera, on government cameras, where they were stuffing ballot boxes.

So, with all of that, I think it’s a shame that – what happened. I think it’s a very sad thing for our country. I think it’s a very sad thing, frankly, for the world, because, if you look at what’s gone to our country, our country has gone to hell. Our borders are bad. Our military has been bad.

You look at the taxes, you look at inflation, what’s happened to inflation, it’s just destroying our country. We have really become, in many ways, a Third World country. And it’s very sad what’s happened in this administration. And it’s something that we will turn around on day one.

We were energy-independent. Now energy is at a level that we have never had to pay before. We – nobody can afford to continue to pay what’s happening with energy. But we were energy-independent. And we were getting out of Afghanistan with strength and with dignity. And, instead, we got out, we looked like fools…

COLLINS: And, Mr. President…

TRUMP: … probably the most embarrassing moment in the history of our country.

COLLINS: We have a lot of questions about the economy and foreign policy tonight.

TRUMP: Good.

COLLINS: But what you just said there, Republican officials debunked those claims about fraudulent ballots.

We want to give you a chance tonight…

TRUMP: Who? Who?

COLLINS: Republican officials in Georgia…


COLLINS: … and every single state. There is no – your own election officials, Mr. President.

So, we wanted to give you a chance…

TRUMP: Look, people were afraid to take on the issue.

But we have a big problem in this country. We have elections…

COLLINS: Well, we wanted to give you a chance to acknowledge the results.

TRUMP: We have elections that were horrible.

If you look at what happened in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, if you look at what happened in Detroit, Michigan, if you look at what happened in Atlanta, millions of votes, and all you have to do is take a look at government cameras. You will see them, people going to 28 different voting booths to vote, to put in seven ballots apiece. I mean, and they’re all on camera.

COLLINS: But, Mr. President, I have to stop you there, because – because there is no evidence of that.

Your own election officials testified to that and have said that. Republicans in these states did this. In Georgia, there were multiple recounts, including a hand recount.

We have questions about the claims that you’re making tonight from voters on this topic.

I want to bring in Scott Dustin from Concord. He works in insurance litigation. He is an undeclared voter. That’s what they call independents here in New Hampshire, as you know.


COLLINS: He did vote for you in 2020.

Scott, what’s your question for the president?


TRUMP: Hi, Scott.

DUSTIN: And welcome back to New Hampshire.

TRUMP: Thank you.

DUSTIN: Will you suspend polarizing talk of election fraud during your run for president?

TRUMP: Will I suspend – excuse me? What?

DUSTIN: Will you suspend polarizing talk of election fraud during your run for president?

TRUMP: Yes, unless I see election fraud.

If I see election fraud, I think I have an obligation to say it. And what we went through a short while ago has really put our country in a big problem. I hope to do that. I hope we’re going to have very honest elections. We should have voter I.D. We should have one-day elections. We should have paper ballots, instead of these mail-in votes.

But the answer is yes. And I hope that it’s going to be very straight-up, because, if it’s going to be straight-up, we’re going to win the election.

Thank you.

COLLINS: So you will suspend talk, to his question, about the 2020 election on the campaign trail?

TRUMP: Well, I guess we’re going to just win. We’re at a point now. We’re getting so close. Let’s just win it again and straighten out our country.

COLLINS: One other question on this.

COLLINS: When you – when you have talked about the 2020 election results in the past, you once suggested terminating the Constitution.

Do you stand by those comments?

TRUMP: No, no. You are able to do certain things. I’m not talking about terminating the Constitution. I’m talking about cherishing the Constitution.

The Constitution says that we’re supposed to have legal and well-maintained and well-looked-at elections. And we didn’t have that. I cherish our Constitution, but we have to live up to the Constitution. We weren’t living up to the Constitution.

COLLINS: I would just say that there’s no evidence of that election fraud.

You did once tweet…

TRUMP: I know you’re supposed to say that, but – you know, I’m glad you say that.

But, look…

COLLINS: It’s the truth, Mr. President.

TRUMP: … that was a horrible election.

TRUMP: That was a horrible election. And unless somebody is very stupid – and I know you very well. You’re not stupid at all. But you perhaps are given an agenda, or you have an agenda.

Look, we have to have honest elections in our country. We have open borders. We have…

TRUMP: You look at what’s happening.

I mean, we have elections. We have open borders. Look at what’s happening on our Southern border. Millions and millions of people are coming here. They’re being released from prisons. They’re being released from mental institutions. And we have millions of people pouring into our country. And now they’re getting rid of Title 42, which I put on, which kept people out that were sick and had problems.

COLLINS: And, Mr. President, we have a lot of questions about immigration to get to tonight.


COLLINS: Obviously, that’s a big topic, especially given what’s expected to happen tomorrow.

But I want to talk about the influence you have over your voters. It’s very clear that you are very influential over them. You have a lot of impact. I have been to many of your rallies and seen it up close, which raised a lot of questions about the influence that we saw that you had on them on January 6 and your supporters when they attacked the Capitol.

Do you have any regrets about your actions on January 6?

TRUMP: Well, you know, January 6 was – again, we go back to it, but January 6 had to do with the fact that hundreds of thousands of people – and you don’t see the pictures very often.

A lot of the people here probably were there. January 6, it was the largest crowd I have ever spoken to. That was prior to the walk down to the Capitol Building. I don’t think – and I have spoken to hundreds of thousands of people. I have never spoken to a crowd as large as this.

And that was because they thought the election was rigged. And they were there proud. They were there with love in their heart. That was an unbelievable – and it was a beautiful day. And what I was asked to do – I wasn’t involved in it very much. I was asked to come in. Would I make a speech?

I made a speech. I said, walk peacefully and patriotically, many different things. In fact, I brought a list of things. I don’t want to bore the audience, but we can go sentence after sentence after sentence of things I said and things I put out.

One of the big problems was that Nancy Pelosi, crazy Nancy, as I affectionately call her…

TRUMP: … crazy Nancy Pelosi and the mayor of Washington were in charge, as you know, of security, and they did not do their job.

COLLINS: They’re not in charge of the National Guard. You’re in charge of the National Guard.

TRUMP: They are in charge. Well, I offered them National Guard. I said, we will give you soldiers. We will give you National Guard. We will give you whatever you want.

And they turned me down. And, in fact, she turned me down.

COLLINS: Your acting defense secretary…

TRUMP: She turned – excuse me – she turned me down in writing. They turned me down.

COLLINS: But your acting defense secretary, Chris Miller, at the time, he says you never gave a formal order to deploy the National Guard.

But, when it came that day…

TRUMP: Excuse me. Just the opposite.

COLLINS: He test…

TRUMP: Chris Miller wrote a book, and he’s a fantastic guy, and he was ready to go. They turned him down.

If you look, the mayor of Washington, D.C., lovely lady, she said, we don’t want it. We don’t like the look. Nancy Pelosi said, oh, we don’t like the look.

If they would have had just – I offered them 10,000 soldiers. I said it could be 10,000. It could be more. But I offered them specifically 10,000 soldiers. If they would have taken 500 soldiers, you wouldn’t have had the problem. They turned it down.

And if you look at the inspector general report, he says they turned it down. They made a terrible mistake.

COLLINS: Well, Chris Miller was your acting defense secretary. He says you never gave that order.

But back to what happened on that day, he said you weren’t…

TRUMP: He did not say that.

COLLINS: You – he has testified that, Mr. President.

TRUMP: He did not say that.

COLLINS: But you said you weren’t very involved that day.

You did tell your supporters to come to Washington. You tweeted about it, about that speech…

TRUMP: That’s true, of course.

COLLINS: … that happened on the rally. So, when they…

TRUMP: Am I allowed to say that?

COLLINS: When they went to the Capitol and they were breaking into the Capitol, smashing windows, injuring police officers, why did you – why did it take you three hours to tell them to go home?

TRUMP: I don’t believe it did. Oh, let me pull it out. I have to pull it out.

TRUMP: So – so, if you look at – on January 5, the day before, I said: “Please support our Capitol Police and law enforcement. They are truly on the side of our country. Stay peaceful. Stay peaceful.”

This was the day before. And this was in the form of Twitter. Now I use TRUTH, TRUTH Social. I think it’s far superior, OK?

TRUMP: I hope everybody’s on – I hope everybody’s on TRUTH.

If you look, January 6, this is at 2:00 – before 2:30. “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful.” This is right after – as it was happening. But what happened is, they took it down. I don’t know why. I think they took it down because it was so good. They didn’t like it being up there.

TRUMP: “I am asking” – this is – and we didn’t know until I got it back, because now I have 90 million people waiting for me to go back.

But I’m on TRUTH, and I’m staying on TRUTH.

Listen, “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol remain peaceful. No violation.” It’s we want “no violation. We want no violence. Remember, we are the party of law and order. Respect the law and our great men and women in blue. Thank you.”

That was at 2:30. That was very early.

COLLINS: Mr. President, I looked at the same timeline that you did.

Once it was clear…

TRUMP: No, I know, but you didn’t report that. You know why? Because it was taken down.

COLLINS: We did report it. I was reporting that day.

TRUMP: It was taken down, and it wasn’t put back up.

COLLINS: But when it was clear to you that they were not being peaceful – you saw them rushing the Capitol, breaking windows. They were hitting officers with flagpoles, Tasing them, beating them up.

When it was clear they weren’t being peaceful, why did you wait three hours to tell them to leave the Capitol? They listen to you like no one else.


COLLINS: You know that.

TRUMP: They do. I agree with that.

But Nancy Pelosi…

COLLINS: So, why didn’t you tell them to go home sooner?

TRUMP: Nancy Pelosi and the mayor are in charge. I assumed they were able to do their job. They weren’t.

COLLINS: But Pelosi is not in charge of Capitol security.

TRUMP: And it kicked in.

And, if you remember, I made a video right outside the Oval Office in the Rose Garden. And I’m very proud of that video. I didn’t have a script. I don’t need scripts, like a certain person that’s in there right now.

COLLINS: But what time – the video, it came out much later, after they had already attacked the Capitol.

TRUMP: It’s right there. It’s right…

TRUMP: It was a great video. And it was a beautiful video.

And it said – I mean, I don’t want to read it all, but you have – “You have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people of law and order. We love the people of law and order. We can’t play into the hands of these other people. We have to have peace. Please go home.”

I said that. You know what they did?

COLLINS: Well, referring to the law and order there, Mr. President…

TRUMP: They took that down. And, you know, to this day, it hasn’t been put up.

And the reason is, it’s so good and so conclusive that all of this nonsense and all of the tens of millions of dollars that have been spent are just wiped away with this one, and they have never put it back up. They had another one that they did the same thing.

COLLINS: But that video that you referenced there, it wasn’t posted until 4:17 p.m.

TRUMP: No, I will tell you…

COLLINS: They breached the Capitol at 2:00 p.m., Mr. President.

TRUMP: That video was posted…

COLLINS: 4:17 p.m.

TRUMP: Yes, before – actually, a little bit before that.

COLLINS: Right. So, that’s my question.

TRUMP: But – excuse me.

COLLINS: Because, in that three hours, over 140 officers were injured.

TRUMP: Excuse me. It was posted after the first one I just read, though, and that was at 2:00.

COLLINS: But I think the reason the timeline is so critical here, because, going back to your influence, in that three hours…

TRUMP: There’s another one I post.

COLLINS: … over 140 officers were injured that day.