NBC’s town hall featuring Joe Biden did not receive the warmest reception on Monday night.
The outdoor, televised event, which aired on both NBC and MSNBC, took place in the swing state of Florida and moderator Lester Holt told viewers that all of the Miami attendees were “undecided voters.”
Holt kicked off the town hall by asking him to react to President Trump’s departure from Walter Reed Medical Center and grilled him by asking if he was “surprised” by Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis; if he thought the president’s medical team were “forthcoming” with information about his condition and whether he “trusts” their assessment; if he had “a moment of pause, of worry” when he first heard about the diagnosis following the first presidential debate; if he would “pledge to transparency” as president regarding his own potential health issues. and if he believes Trump “bears responsibility” for contracting the coronavirus.
Could you speak a bit louder for those of us in the back?
“The reason I was able to stay sequestered in my home was because some black woman was able to stock the grocery shelf.” pic.twitter.com/TV5yDQKMra
— Dan Mellis (@MtgGuyDan) October 5, 2020
Then the “undecided voters” were able to speak to the former vice president one-on-one. Of the roughly eleven voters who were able to ask questions, one was described as “leaning” towards Biden, one was described as a “registered Republican” that was also “leaning” towards Biden, one was described as a former registered Republican who “voted for Hillary Clinton” and other one voted for Clinton in 2016 but he, too, according to Holt, voted for Republicans “in the past.” None of the attendees were described as a Trump voter or “leaning” towards voting for the incumbent president.
All of their questions were primarily focused on Biden’s plans as president rather than tough questions that challenged the candidate on his 47-year record.
“NBC’s town hall with Joe Biden & ‘undecided voters’ in Miami didn’t seem to have undecided voters. Nor was it much of a Miami town hall, which would have way more yelling & pointed questions. It was a TV show that doubled as a Biden infomercial. Can’t blame him for doing it,” Politico reporter Marc Caputo reacted.
“The townhall questions for Biden are pretty underwhelming thus far,” McClatchy political correspondent David Catanese tweeted.
“I just watched that entire, hour-long NBC News townhall with Joe Biden. No questions about whether he will pack the court, nuke the filibuster, or add DC and Puerto Rico as states,” Daily Caller’s Greg Price said, later adding, “There were also no questions about China.”
The Biden town hall was even knocked by one of Biden’s own supporters.
“The media never learns. NBC just spent the first 12 mins of @JoeBiden’s town hall talking about Trump. Damn,” Democratic activist Chris Jackson reacted.
Others took aim at Holt for asking Biden if he “regrets” the “divisive” rhetoric he expressed during the first presidential debate last week.
“Lester Holt is trying to ‘both sides’ the first presidential debate and criticizing Joe Biden for calling Trump a clown at this townhall. Insane,” progressive commentator Hasan Piker tweeted.
“Hey, Lester Holt… Donald Trump is a clown. Apparently, so are you,” Bishop Talbert Swan wrote.
Last month, CNN was similarly criticized for its friendly town hall with Biden, which came just days after President Trump faced tough questions at an ABC News-hosted event.