CNN announced Monday it will host a town hall with former president Donald Trump next week, as the network faces plummeting ratings.
Trump will field questions from Republicans and undeclared voters in New Hampshire at St. Anselm College on May 10. The former president’s team said “CNN executives made a compelling pitch” and that the broadcast can “jumpstart” the relationship that Trump used to have with the network.
CNN may be looking to attract conservative viewers as CEO Chris Licht overhauls the channel. The network saw a 61 percent drop in ratings during primetime in March and hit a 10-year low in viewership in February.
An adviser for Trump told Semafor the event shows the former president’s desire for mainstream coverage that may help attract new supporters. “Going outside the traditional Republican ‘comfort zone’ was a key to President Trump’s success in 2016,” the adviser said.”Some other candidates are too afraid to take this step in their quest to defeat Joe Biden, and are afraid to do anything other than Fox News.”
CNN pointed to its “longstanding tradition of hosting leading presidential candidates for Town Halls.”
The announcement comes four years after the network’s former president Jeff Zucker said CNN “made a mistake” in 2016 by giving Trump so much press. “We shouldn’t have put on as many [Trump] rallies as we did,” Zucker said weeks before Trump’s election.