We analyzed CNN’s Town Hall with Donald Trump, and here are the 9 lies we found


Credit: Flick.

On May 10, 2023, CNN held a Town Hall featuring former President Donald Trump. Coming on the heels of his multiple criminal investigations, some felt that it was irresponsible of them to give him a platform. One outspoken critic was Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted, “CNN should be ashamed of themselves. They have lost total control of this ‘town hall’ to again be manipulated into platforming election disinformation, defenses of Jan 6th, and a public attack on a sexual abuse victim. The audience is cheering him on and laughing at the host.” In her critique, she hits on the main lies Trump espoused in the town hall, which we tracked. Here are the nine lies Trump told last night.

  1. He did not know E. Jean Carroll.

This week, Trump was charged with sexual abuse and defamation of journalist E Jean Carroll in a Department Store in 1996. This is one of several abuse allegations against the former President. At the town hall, moderator Kaitlan Collins asked if he thought these charges would deter women voters, and Trump said he did not. However, as Collins grilled him about the charges, Trump said the case is being used to interfere with his election. He then went on to make two statements that we have determined to be false. Trump claimed, “I have no idea who the hell she is…I’ve never met her.”

Yet, in a 1987 photo by E Jean Carroll that was republished in The New Yorker, Trump is seen coalescing with Carroll and her spouse John Johnson. Alas, this was only the start of his trail of lies at the town hall.

  1. The Economy was at its best under his administration.

Another lie Trump told was regarding the economy. According to him, his administration “had the greatest economy in the history of our country.” After analyzing the economies of the three presidents prior to Trump and Biden, this statement was far fetched, at best. We looked at three economic factors when making this determination: the unemployment rate, the poverty rate, and the amount of disposable income people had after it was adjusted for inflation.

Using data from GO Banking Rates, we found that from Bush to Clinton

  • Unemployment went down
  • The poverty rate went down
  • Disposable income went down

Comparatively, from Clinton to George Bush Jr.:

  • Unemployment went up
  • The poverty rate went up
  • Disposable income went down

Then from Bush to Barack Obama:

  • Unemployment went down
  • Poverty went up
  • Disposable income went down

During Trump’s presidency:

  • Unemployment went up
  • Disposable income was about the same
  • The poverty rate went down

Finally, from Trump to President Joe Biden:

  • Unemployment went down
  • Inflation and poverty went up
  • Disposable income went down

This was not Trump’s only lie related to economics.

  1. There was a huge gap in Ukrainian aid from the US versus the Euro union.
back view of a young girl protesting against war
Photo by Matti Karstedt on Pexels.com

When the conversation shifted to the war in Ukraine, he boldly claimed, “Within 24 hours [of my presidency], that war will be settled.” According to Trump, he would have been able to prevent Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine in the first place. Collins pressed him about his relationship with Putin and directly asked Trump, “Do you believe that Putin is a war criminal?” Trump evaded the question and instead said, “I want Europe to put up more money.”

Earlier in the conversation, he made another categorically false statement, alleging that the European Union spent just $20 Billion aiding Ukraine, while the U.S. spent $171 Billion. In actuality, the numbers were a lot closer than that. As of February 2023, “the Biden administration and the U.S. Congress have directed more than $75 billion in assistance to Ukraine, which includes humanitarian, financial, and military support, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, a German research institute,” Jonathan Masters and Will Merrow wrote for CFR.

As for the Euro union, they are said to have spent €50 billion on Ukraine, which is equivalent to $54 B, according to euronews.com. Trump went on to claim he had an amicable relationship with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and Zelenskyy supported him in his impeachment. His impeachment was among the criminal activities that he lied about.

  1. He had rights to classified documents under the Presidential Records Act.

Last year, Trump’s Mar-a-lago property was raided under an FBI probe regarding Trump taking classified documents when he left the White House. Trump told Collins, “I had every right to [take documents] under the Presidential Records Act.” In Trump’s view, the act allowed him to take the documents because he was the President. However, the timeline for when he took them contradicts with the rights granted under the act.

According to archives.gov, “Under the Presidential Records Act (PRA), incumbent Presidents have exclusive responsibility for the custody and management of the Presidential records of their administration while in office.”  Trump’s actions contradict this because the documents were recovered after he had left office, and they should have been returned, according to PBS.

After all, the raid on Mar-a-lago occurred on August 8, 2022, and Trump left office on January 20, 2021. When Collins brought this up, Trump deflected to President Biden, who he claims had boxes sent to Chinatown. This is in reference to Biden sending Vice Presidential records to the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., which he is currently being investigated for.

Collins noted this, and Trump countered by saying that Biden’s house was not raided. Collins mentioned that this was because he willingly handed over the documents. As they went back and forth, Trump told Collins, “You don’t know the subject.”

This was not the only time Trump mentioned Biden during the town hall. 

  1. Biden trails him in the polls.
black flat screen computer monitor with headline news on display
Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

At one point, Trump said, “My poll numbers came out; they went up.” In his view, he is leading Biden in the polls. Yet, based on research, this is only partly true. In one poll by Yahoo News, Biden’s numbers are up. Another poll shows that voters prefer Trump. In any case, Trump is slated to win the Republican primary. In one truth from the whole night, he said that he leads “DeSanctimonious,” his nickname for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, by 40 points. This claim is actually true. However, Trump’s overall view of the election is skewed, to say the least.

  1. He offered to deploy 10,000 troops on January

Throughout the Town Hall, Trump continued to tout the lie that the 2020 election was rigged, despite credible claims otherwise. Collins interjected when Trump made this claim, but this did not stop him. Adding to this lie, he also claimed that he offered to deploy 10,000 troops to the site of the insurrection. This lie has been debunked by his defense secretary, who testified that Trump never gave a formal order to deploy the national guard, according to CBS News.

When they reached this topic, Collins pressed Trump with questions that many have wondered, such as: “Why did it take you three hours to tell them to go home?” Trump said that he did tell them to go home, and Collins noted this was hours after they had started the insurrection; it was not done in a timely manner.

Trump insisted that he did tell the rioters to stand down, and that he is “inclined to pardon many of them.” In his eyes, the insurrectionist got worse treatment than Black Lives Matter protesters, but this was yet another lie.

  1. Insurrectionists got harsher punishment than BLM protestors.
man people woman blue
Photo by Eric Yeich on Pexels.com

In 2020, over 300 people faced federal charges for crimes committed during demonstrations, according to a justice department report. Moreover, cop city protestors were charged with terrorism, which none of the insurrectionists got, and the arrests did not stop there. Recently, 11 people were arrested following protests in the murder of Jordan Neely.

Contrarily, many of the insurrectionists were exonerated or faced arguably light jail sentences for storming the Capitol and threatening police officers. According to NPR, 994 people faced federal charges related to the insurrection. Of these 994, just 445 were sentenced and about half of those people face prison time.

To put it numerically, 19% of people charged in the January 6 insurrection will actually face jail time. To this day, BLM activists from 2020 are fighting court cases, so this is another lie he told.

  1. Under Roe v. Wade, late term abortions were prevalent.
pro choice protest in the usa
Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Throughout his presidency, Trump had few accomplishments, but there was one he was particularly proud of – the end of Roe v. Wade. Collins asked him about whether he would institute a national abortion ban, and he once again evaded the question. Instead, he talked about negotiating with both sides of the issue. Yet, he called pro-choice supporters “radical,” which revealed his position on the issue.

Later, he said, “The fact that I was able to terminate Roe v. Wade after 50 years of trying, I’ve never seen anything like it. I was very honored to have done it.” 

His justification for overturning Roe v. Wade was because “They could kill the baby in the ninth month [under Roe v. Wade].”  This is generally not true, unless there are medical considerations. In 2022, following the end of Roe v. Wade, Axios reported that “Abortion at any stage is still difficult to access for many people.”

In the article, they added, “About 93% of reported abortions in 2019 were performed at or before 13 weeks of pregnancy, 6% were conducted between 14 and 20 weeks and 1% were performed at or after 21 weeks, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

For a man accused of stealing women’s bodily autonomy, it is unsurprising he would tout this lie.


Throughout the town hall, there were many eyebrow furling incidents that went beyond Trump’s half truths and lies. For one, Collins referred to him as “Mr. President,” although it is a title he does not hold anymore. Another point of confusion was the fact that the room was full of Trump supporters who embraced his rudeness, from him cutting off Collins to him telling her she was “a nasty person.” Our overall takeaway from these two things is that the town hall was irresponsible and yet another example of how the media plays a role in normalizing fascism.


  • Javanna Plummer

    Javanna is the editor of "Rwebel Magazine," the architect behind "Rwebel Radio," and the pioneering force of "Xscape." Through her words, Javanna hopes to inspire creativity, passion, and forward-thinking.

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