With just a few days to go before the second presidential debate, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump held a town hall-style event—the same style that will be used on Sunday—in Sandown, New Hampshire on Thursday. Many in the media called the campaign stop a trial run of the debate, but Trump was quick to quell said assertions.
“They’re saying this is practice for Sunday. This isn’t practice for Sunday. We’re just here because we just wanted to be here,” Trump said. “With Hillary they talk about ‘debate prep.’ That’s not debate prep. That’s resting. She’s resting. I want to be with the American people. I want to be with the people in New Hampshire, and she wants to rest.”
Dry run or not, Trump is undoubtedly feeling the pressure to further the momentum created by Indiana governor Mike Pence, widely heralded debate performance at Tuesday’s Vice Presidential debate. Laura Ingraham, Fox News contributor and editor-in-chief of LifeZette, joined Sean on Thursday’s Hannity to discuss how Trump should handle some of the baited questions that, with CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC News’ Martha Raddatz as moderators, are bound to come his way.
There have been rumblings that Cooper and Raddatz have been sparing about who will get to ask Trump the “gotcha” questions related to issues like taxes and women that the Clinton campaign has been pushing as talking points for weeks. Ingraham said Trump must be prepared for the inquires and remember the moderators are not going to throw him a bone.
“Understand that the moderators aren’t really moderators. The moderators are there to ensure that [Trump] loses the presidential election. That’s the goal. Just know that going in,” she explained. “They are not your friends. They are probably not going to be fair. But don’t worry about that.”
Instead, both Sean and Ingraham agreed that Trump must stick to talking about the issues that matter most to his campaign and the American people, while reminding voters that the Clintons had their chance and squandered it.
“Hillary had her chance. She and her husband got really rich after they left the White House. They’ve done really well. Now it’s time to send them into retirement. They had their chance, and it didn’t work,” Ingraham said. “The country is begging for real and refreshing domestic change. Donald Trump has to stay with that message. Don’t start going down these rabbit holes. Don’t get defensive.”
When those issues do come up—and we all know they will—Ingraham encouraged Trump to “flick it away like an annoying gnat” like Pence was able to do earlier this week and offered this pivot point:
“I would say: ‘Hillary, we are onto your game. You’ve done pretty well with it with the media that is compliant and all on your side, but I am focusing on the people who are watching this today. It’s not about Trump University. It’s not even about Laureate University that your husband and the [Clinton] Foundation were involved with. This is about the fact that America is flat lining and ultimately will cave if we don’t turn this around. I have a plan to do it. You want the same stuff that has kept us in this flat line position. That can’t stand.’”
Sean would love to see topics like immigration, the economy, Obamacare, and education debated on Sunday because those are the issues most pertinent to America today and they are also the issues on which Trump and Clinton offer dramatically different paths forward. With that said, it is more likely the candidates will end up discussing social issues like abortion and gay marriage. Regardless of where the conversation goes, Ingraham maintained that Trump must find a way to stay on message.
On the topic of abortion, she offered this potential response for Trump:
“We’re pro-life. We are for protecting the most vulnerable in our society from the womb until natural death. We are going to stand up for the vulnerable. The vulnerable also include the American family and the American workers. You can try to distract them from the major issues that they care about, but I am going to stay on these like a laser beam from Obamacare to educational choice to prosperity and renewing the idea of safety and borders and nationhood. That is what I am going to do, and I am going to do it every day for the workers—not for Hillary’s big donors but for the American families and workers that have been really ill served by bad leadership.”
“I think he stays on that [message],” Ingraham concluded. “I think the anchors will look increasingly irrelevant to the discussion if they keep picking away at these old scabs. I don’t think that works.”