Donald Trump on FOX News tonight (Thursday) for a televised town hall

In the second broadcast town hall since he declared his candidacy last November, former president Donald Trump will be on FOX News for an hour tonight (June 1).  The broadcast, taped before a live audience earlier in the day in Clive, Iowa, will constitute the Hannity program's full hour from 9 to 10 P.M. E.T., with a replay at 11 P.M. P.T.

Three weeks ago, in his first town hall appearance of the campaign, Trump chose CNN as the platform.  The reviews of that 70-minute show were decidedly mixed, with both the rest of the MSM and fans of Trump dumping on the beleaguered channel.  The ratings for CNN's town hall with Trump, with about 3.3 million total viewers, were well below the average number of viewers who watched Donald Trump in his five town halls on FOX News in 2020 and 2021, which ranged from 3.5 to 5.1 million viewers each.  President Trump can be expected to get more viewers than CNN tonight on FOX News.

Notwithstanding the universal criticisms of CNN's Trump town hall production, its host, Kaitlan Collins, was rewarded with a promotion to her own prime-time program weeknights from 9 to 10 P.M. E.T., scheduled to debut later this month.  The 9 P.M. E.T. hour on CNN has lacked a permanent host since CNN's number-one prime-time host, Chris Cuomo, left the channel in December 2021.  (Cuomo now hosts a prime-time show on the NewsNation channel.)

Tonight, FOX News's venerable host, Sean Hannity, a longtime friend and supporter of Trump, can be expected to give the former president a warm welcome, perhaps modified somewhat by questions from the audience.  Having attended a number of presidential candidate broadcast "town halls" since the 1970s, I have observed that most of the audience questions are known and approved in advance by the programs' producers.

This week marked the first time since Florida governor Ron DeSantis declared his candidacy on May 24 that both he and Donald Trump were in the same state, Iowa, at the same time, getting closer to the grassroots.  Iowa is of major importance to the still-growing, large field of aspirants for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.  Since 1972, the Iowa caucuses have been the first test of voters' preferences in the lead-up to the November elections.

The caucuses will take place next January, but the exact date "may not be firmly set for months," according to the Des Moines Register.  Historically, New Hampshire has held the first primary election, although as a favor to President Biden, the Democratic National Committee pushed South Carolina, a state deemed reliably friendly to the incumbent president, ahead as the Democrats' first primary state next year.

I will provide a quick review of FOX News's town hall with President Trump on Friday at American Thinker, along with links to the video.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who has covered national politics, including a number of presidential races starting in 1972, and the politics and economics of health care, popular culture, and media for over five decades.  His web page with links to his work is  Peter's extensive American Thinker archive:  Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

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