By Associated Press - Thursday, October 15, 2020

A spokesperson for President Donald Trump’s campaign is declaring that the president “defeated” town hall moderator, Savannah Guthrie, and derided the NBC “Today” host as a “surrogate” for Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign.

Campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh also said after Thursday’s event that the president “masterfully handled Guthrie’s attacks and interacted warmly and effectively with the voters in the room.”

The statement follows a contentious hourlong town hall during which Trump largely dodged tough questions from Guthrie and voters alike about his struggle to control the pandemic, his refusal to release his tax returns, his vague promises to fix the nation’s health care system and his reluctance to condemn white supremacists and a conspiracy-theory group that believes Trump’s critics are violent child molesters.

The president was visibly upset at times with Guthrie and said more than once that they were “on the same side.” Trump has cast himself as a victim of media bias for years.

Biden had a separate town hall at the same time on ABC News.

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