This week’s CNN town hall event with former President Donald Trump may have serious impacts on the 2024 race, especially as it showed that Trump remains a formidable force in American politics.
The broadcast garnered widespread attention and was the first similar event the president aired on a major network since the 2020 election. It is also a sign that Trump’s 2024 campaign is likely gearing up for the long run.
While the 2024 election is a year and a half away, the recent town hall indicates that Trump may have several advantages in both the Republican primary and the general election.
For starters, the CNN special broadcast showed that the traditional media is still reliant on the former president for ratings. The town hall brought in 3.3 million viewers, topping not only CNN’s ratings that day but all of cable news.
This was about three times the average recent rating for the news network.
Trump recognized this, as well. The 45th president wrote on Truth Social that the program resulted in “Sky High Ratings.”
Trump described CNN’s decision as a “very smart thing” and that “many minds were changed on Wednesday night by listening to Common Sense, and sheer “Brilliance.”
The former president’s ratings win also prompted his 2024 campaign to poke some fun at CNN’s expense. CNN was arguably the network that disagreed most sharply with Trump during his time in office.
Trump’s campaign said that the candidate “TOOK COMMAND of the CNN town hall and spoke directly to the VOTERS who responded with cheers, applause and even laughs.”
GOP Rep. Byron Donalds takes turns ENDING every HACK’S career on CNN panel after Trump humiliated their moderator during town hall🔥
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) May 11, 2023
The campaign email continued, stating that Trump’s performance was “so masterful that many are now saying that CNN should be renamed TNN — the Trump News Network.”
The campaign shared a link for a shirt with the president’s image on it, wearing sunglasses. Underneath is the text “THIS IS TNN.”
The strength of ratings and the swift reaction by the Trump campaign appears to indicate that the former president retained many of the strengths that brought him to the White House in 2016, though the race is still early.