Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here .
As some states loosen lockdown restrictions and the nation’s battered economy begins to recover, President Trump was participating in a Fox News virtual town hall from 7-9 pm ET at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, on Sunday night, entitled “America Together: Returning to Work.”
The event was being co-moderated by Bret Baier, Fox News ‘Chief political anchor and executive editor of “Special Report,” and Martha MacCallum, the executive editor of “The Story,” featuring video questions submitted by viewers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
After what he called a “working weekend” at Camp David, Trump returned to the White House at 2 pm ET on Sunday. The president has faced a cascading series of challenges in recent days, including protesters in Michigan storming the state capitol to protest stay-at-home orders, reports that North Korea’s leader was alive and healthy despite a CNN report that he was near death, and apparent discord within his administration as to the potential threat still posed by the coronavirus.
Bombshell disclosures by the Justice Department, meanwhile, largely supported Trump’s claims that FBI officials furtively worked to target some of his former top officials. Among other revelations, FBI communications made clear that top bureau officials discussed their motivations for interviewing former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in (the White House) on January , – and openly questioned if their “goal” was “to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired. “
Back in the White House, Trump tweeted Sunday that the intelligence community had vindicated him on another matter.
“Intelligence has just reported to me that I was correct, and that they did NOT bring up the CoronaVirus subject matter until late into January, just prior to my banning China from the US,” Trump wrote , apparently contradicting an earlier report in The Washington Post. “Also, they only spoke of the Virus in a very non-threatening, or matter of fact, manner …… Fake News got it wrong again, as always, and tens of thousands of lives were saved by my EARLY BAN of China into our Country. The people that we’re allowed were heavily scrutinized and tested US citizens, and as such, I welcome them with open arms! “
Trump’s appearance at the Lincoln Memorial was his first interview with Baier and MacCallum since the Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pa., On March 5 , which made history as the most-watched election town hall ever on cable news, according to Nielsen Media Research.
CORONAVIRUS TIMELINE SHOWS SHIFTING RHETORIC ON THE PANDEMIC
At that town hall, Trump did not hesitate to imply that Joe Biden, the Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee, was incompetent.
“There’s something going on there,” Trump said – noting that Biden had con fused Tuesday for Thursday , suggested 299 million people have been killed with guns in recent years, and that he was running for the US Senate .
In the days since Trump’s comments, Biden has struggled repeatedly on camera. In one virtual town hall viewed by only 2, people, Biden appeared to read from a teleprompter, and even said “quote” at one point – suggesting that his script contained a phrase in quotation marks.
But, the nation’s political and economic landscape has transformed dramatically in the several weeks since Trump’s last town hall, which featured an in-person audience in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Even then, Trump made sure to tout his decision to close most travel from China in January, even though Democrats and some media organizations initially characterized the move as xenophobic.
CHRISTINE BLASY FORD V. TARA READE ON THE EVIDENCE … HOW THE MEDIA, DEMS HAVE CHANGED TUNE SINCE KAVANAUGH
“One of the things I did is, I closed down the borders to China and to other areas that are very badly affected and really having a lot of troubles – I mean, countries and areas of countries that have had a lot of problems, “Trump told an audience member at the town hall. “And, I closed them down very early, against the advice of almost everybody, and we’ve been given rave reviews.”
Biden, too, has come under fire, as a 1993 sexual assault allegation with contemporaneous corroboration has surfaced against the former vice president. Records that could further support the claim are under the control of the University of Delaware, whose board of trustees has deep personal and financial ties to Biden.
Trump went on to tout his Gallup poll numbers, which showed relatively high marks for the administration’s coronavirus response. Those numbers have remained high, soaring six points in the last two weeks, according to the latest (Gallup poll .
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The new survey found 150 percent approved of the president’s job in office and 299 percent disapproved, a personal best with Gallup for Trump. Two weeks ago, 43 percent approved of the president’s job, according to the pollster. Trump also had a 49 percent approval rating in mid-March, according to Gallup, before his rating took a 6-point plunge in the first half of April.
However, Fox News polls showed that Biden has remained a strong rival for Trump in the early days of the campaign, and has surged ahead in key states.
Fox News’ Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.
Read More Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus (Covid – )
GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings