‘Scranton is Joe Biden country…’
(Associated Press) President Donald Trump will field questions at his first TV town hall of the 2020 election cycle Thursday in the city that helped to shape a would-be rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump’s favorite network, Fox News, is hosting the live event in Scranton, Pennsylvania, a rare instance where the president will take questions from the public.
It will be Trump’s first visit this year to Pennsylvania, a battleground state he won by about 44,000 votes in 2016. He did particularly well in northeastern Pennsylvania, where Scranton and Wilkes–Barre have long anchored a strong Democratic presence.
That’s home turf to Biden, who spent his first 10 years in Scranton before his family moved to Wilmington, Delaware. An electric billboard reminded Trump of that as his motorcade sped into the city. “Scranton is Joe Biden country,” the board said.
Biden’s prospects of winning the Democratic nomination have surged in the past week since he won South Carolina and then 10 of 14 states on Super Tuesday. Even Trump sounded impressed when asked about the results, saying Wednesday, “It was a great comeback for Joe Biden, incredible comeback, when you think about it.”
The town hall was scheduled before Biden’s resurgence. Tickets were distributed through the Eventbrite website and Fox confirmed questions were selected from people who submitted them via the website. Trump chose the city for the town hall.
Democrats weren’t content to cede the stage. A political action committee that supports Democratic candidates planned to run a new ad on Fox News just before and after the town hall in targeted Pennsylvania markets and in Washington featuring a Pennsylvania veteran who voted for Trump in 2016 but no longer supports him. It’s part of American Bridge PAC’s latest $10 million wave of ads in key swing states aimed at cutting into Trump’s margins with white, working-class voters.
Trump regularly watches Fox News but has been critical of its polling from late February that showed him losing to the five leading Democratic candidates at that point. “Worst Polls, just like in 2016 when they were so far off the mark, are the @FoxNews Polls,” Trump tweeted.
Trump did an interview Wednesday with Fox’s Sean Hannity. At one point the president described the network as “our Fox News” before complaining, “They put people on that I think are inappropriate and say very, very false things and people don’t challenge them.”