CNN Backs Jake Tapper and Dana Bash for Debate After Trump Camp Backlash

Gun Rights

CNN defended the moderators of Thursday’s upcoming presidential debate after a contentious exchange on the network Monday in which anchor Kasie Hunt abruptly ended her interview with Trump campaign spokesperson Karoline Leavitt after Leavitt continually criticized Jake Tapper and Dana Bash.

“Jake Tapper and Dana Bash are well respected veteran journalists who have covered politics for more than five decades combined,” the network said in a statement, per The Hill. “They have extensive experience moderating major political debates, including CNN’s Republican Presidential Primary Debate this cycle. There are no two people better equipped to co-moderate a substantial and fact-based discussion and we look forward to the debate on June 27 in Atlanta.”

Tapper hosts CNN’s weekday afternoon show, The Lead, as well as State of the Union on Sundays. Bash is in the anchor’s chair for Inside Politics and frequently appears on a number of other shows. The pair previously hosted a Republican primary debate in Iowa back in January, which Trump skipped—as he did with every debate of the primary season.

Thursday’s debate will not occur in front of an audience, and both candidates will have their microphones on only when they are the designated speaker—per the request of Joe Biden’s campaign.

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Donald Trump, after agreeing to the CNN debate, has predictably trashed the network’s choice of moderators. The presumptive GOP nominee, who has long called the cable network “fake news,” griped about “Fake Tapper” during a speech before National Rifle Association members last month.

The second presidential debate, meanwhile, will air in September on ABC, with World News Tonight anchor David Muir and ABC News Live Prime anchor Linsey Davis moderating.

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