Donald Trump has exchanged barbs with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie during a tense town hall debate in Miami ahead of the US presidential election.
The president squared off against the esteemed journalist on Thursday night (local time) as she grilled him over white supremacy, his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and QAnon.
Guthrie urged him to address why he declined to denounce white supremacy and QAnon’s wild conspiracy theories.
Mr Trump sarcastically told Guthrie she was “so cute” when she continued to press him.
“You always do this, you have done this to me and everybody. I denounced white supremacy, I have denounced it for years, you always do this, you always start off with a question. You didn’t ask Joe Biden if he denounces Antifa,” the US president responded.
He also claimed to know Guthrie “very well”.
The president’s election opponent Mr Biden took to a separate stage in Philadelphia.
Mr Trump backed out of plans for the presidential face-off originally scheduled for the evening after debate organisers said it would be held virtually following Mr Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis.
The town halls offered a different format for the two candidates to present themselves to voters after the pair held a chaotic and combative first debate last month.
However, a slew of voters took to social media to claim Mr Trump was just as “unhinged” as he appeared to be last time.
“It turns out Trump has decided to double down on his unhinged first debate performance – even without Biden on stage,” New Yorker staff writer Susan Glasser tweeted.
“The split screen between Joe Biden and Donald Trump tonight is wild,” Matt Viser, national political reporter for The Washington Post, noted.
“Biden, calmly sitting and talking about infrastructure and mask mandates. Trump, combative and challenging every question as he refuses to denounce QAnon and sows doubt in the election.”
Other users called the president “nasty” for his “so cute” retort.
It turns out Trump has decided to double down on his unhinged first debate performance -- even without Biden on stage.
— Susan Glasser (@sbg1) October 16, 2020
“I think the suburban women will love Trump telling Savannah Guthrie sarcastically that she is ‘so cute’,” CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip said.
Some social media users leapt to the defence of Mr Trump, saying the town hall had turned into a debate between the president and journalist.
“Why is Savannah Guthrie debating President Trump? I thought this was a town hall. The media is garbage these days,” one woman wrote.
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