CNN’s Kaitlan Collins Calls Trump Town Hall ‘a Major Inflection Point’ in GOP Primary Race (Video)

The town hall, which aired Wednesday, sparked widespread criticism

It looks like Kaitlan Collins just might really be CNN’s choice to anchor its 9:00 p.m. time slot. Because fresh off moderating the network’s widely criticized Trump town hall on Wednesday, Collins hosted Thursday’s episode of “CNN Primetime.”

And she kicked things off with a comment on the town hall articulating the network’s official line as to why it happened. Watch that clip above (courtesy of @acyn on Twitter).

“About last night: the 70 minutes I spent on stage in New Hampshire with former President Donald Trump was a major inflection point in the Republican party’s search for its nominee, and potentially the starting line for America’s next presidential race,” Collins said.

“It’s important to remember that he is, right now, the GOP front-runner, that he is running, as noted, while being criminally indicted, found civilly liable and under investigation for everything from his handling of classified documents to his business empire.”

Collins’ comments come as CNN remains the focus of heavy backlash over the Trump town hall. That backlash is complex, but the unifying point among critics is that it was an irresponsible mistake at every level. Critics called out the friendly audience made almost entirely of Trump supporters, the fact that Collins frequently allowed Trump to tell numerous lies with very little resistance, and of course that Trump not only insulted Collins to her face, he defamed E. Jean Carroll, the woman a jury found him liable of sexually assaulting and defaming just 24 hours earlier.

Collin’s remarks mirror part of what Anderson Cooper said an hour earlier in his own CNN show. Cooper gave a full-throated defense of the debacle that began by acknowledging that everything critics said about the event was true. At which point he lectured them that their opposition to the event was effectively closed-mindedness and epistemic closure.

“You have every right to be outraged today and angry and never watch this network again,” he said. “But do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person go away?”

Cooper’s defense of CNN’s Trump town hall went over about as well as the event itself did. Read more about it here.

Meanwhile, it’s not yet known for certain that Collins is the new 9:00 p.m. host, which has remained without a permanent anchor since Chris Cuomo was fired in 2021. But the network is clearly interested in upping her profile. Collins currently co-anchors “CNN This Morning” with Poppy Harlow, a job she took last November after previously serving as CNN’s Chief White House correspondent