Former President Donald Trump said he's surprised by how "traumatized" CNN employees were after his town hall on the network last week.
CNN employees and liberals were fuming after Trump firmly took control of the event held in New Hampshire on Wednesday.
"I was surprised by the level of hostility," Trump told The Messenger. "I thought they would be neutral and even better than that so they could get the viewers back. And they had one of the best [viewership] days in years. So you would think they would claim success.
"I was amazed to see that they were traumatized by what took place. They were actually traumatized. I think that instead of acting the way they did, they should have said, 'We had a tremendous ratings night, one of the best in years, many years,' and spiked the football, right?"
Trump, in campaign mode as he tries to secure the 2024 Republican nomination, said the town hall also showed that he's "doing a lot of different media."
"I'm talking to people that I respect," he said. "And CNN very much wanted to do this interview."
Trump also told The Messenger that Republicans need to improve their messaging on abortion.
"First of all, I'm a believer in the exceptions, right? And just as Ronald Reagan was a believer in the exceptions, but I'm a believer in the exceptions … the life of the mother, raping, and incest," Trump told the outlet.
"The other thing I really believe is that the radicals are people that would have a baby destroyed, killed at the end of the ninth month or even after birth."
Trump added that his Supreme Court nominees led to last year's overturning of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationally.
"What it did more than anything else is it gave us a tremendous power of negotiation, which we didn't have, the pro-life movement, a tremendous power of negotiation," he told The Messenger. "Now the pro-life movement has the power to negotiate a deal that's acceptable for them."
Trump was reminded that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a six-week abortion restriction law.
"Well, he has to do what he has to do," Trump said of DeSantis. "If you look at what DeSantis did, a lot of people don't even know if he knew what he was doing. But he signed six weeks, and many people within the pro-life movement feel that that was too harsh.
"I'm looking at all alternatives. I'm looking at many alternatives. But I was able to get us to the table by terminating Roe v. Wade. That's the most important thing that's ever happened for the pro-life movement."
With polls showing DeSantis as his top opponent for the GOP presidential nomination, Trump again said DeSantis is being "disloyal" despite not yet announcing that he's running.
"If he runs, he runs," Trump told The Messenger. "But he's very disloyal. He was a dead man walking [in 2018]. He was dead, dead as a doornail. And I revived him.
"I'm a loyal person. If that happened to me, I would never run against the guy that did that. He's got plenty of years left. And I think if he runs, he's going to lose MAGA votes forever. That's my opinion. And the MAGA votes are almost everything in the Republican Party, far bigger than you think."
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