Trump takes voter questions in town hall event

The president spoke to uncommitted voters about issues like his handling of the pandemic, his health care plan and racial injustice.
6:48 | 09/16/20

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Transcript for Trump takes voter questions in town hall event
We turn to our town hall last night with president trump. He took questions from a mixed group of voters in Pennsylvania, many who supported him in 2016, all were still making up their minds at the start of the town meeting last night and we covered the big issues from covid to health care, the economy and race. Our senior white house correspondent Cecilia Vega is in Philadelphia with the highlights. Good morning, Cecilia. Reporter: Hey, George, good morning to you. Yeah, these were really tough questions from uncommitted voters in this crucial battleground. Some of whom say they made up their minds after what they heard last night. Overnight president trump face-to-face with those uncommitted voters. Which did you throw vulnerable people like me under the bus? Why don't you wear a mask more often. Please stop and let me finish my question, sir. Reporter: His handling of the pandemic under fire from the beginning. If you believe it's the president's responsibility to protect America why would you downplay a pandemic that is known to disproportionately harm low-income families and minority communitys? Yeah, well, I didn't downplay I actually in many ways I upplayed it in terms of action. Reporter: The opposite of what he said in a recorded conversation with Bob Woodward. I wanted to always play it I still like playing it down. Yes. Because I don't want to create a panic. Reporter: The president also contradicting what even his own health experts say, still insisting covid will just disappear. It's going to disappear. Not if we don't take action. It is going to disappear. Will it go away without the vaccine? Sure, over a period of time, sure, with time. And many deaths. And you'll develop like a herd mentality. We're rounding the corner and I believe -- As you know Dr. Fauci disagrees with that. But a lot agree with me. Reporter: When pressed about mask. Why don't you support a mandate for national mask He criticized Joe Biden instead. A good question, you ask like Joe Biden, they said, we're going to do a national mandate on masks. He's called on all governors to have them. It is a state response. He never did it. Reporter: Even though Biden has no such authority. And as the country approaches the grim milestone of nearly 200,000 Americans dead. So you regret nothing. No, I think we did a great job. Reporter: The president also on the defensive over health care. Mr. President, I was born with a disease and I was considered uninsurable. I want to know what it is you're going to do to ensure that people like me who work hard, we do everything we're supposed to do can stay insured. We're going to be doing a health care plan very strongly and protect people with pre-existing conditions. I will say this, they will not do that. Mr. President -- They have socialized -- I have to stop you. I just have to stop you. Number one, Joe Biden has ran against medicare for all in the primaries but much more importantly, Obamacare guaranteed people with pre-existing conditions could buy insurance. You fought to repeal Obamacare. You're arguing -- you're arguing the supreme court right now to strike it down. That would do away with pre-existing conditions. No. You've promised -- So we can do new health care. You've been promising a new health care care. I interviewed you in June of last year and said it would come in two weeks. You told Chris Wallace this summer it would come in three weeks. You promised an executive order. I have it already. You'll have new health care and the pre-existing conditions aspect of it will always be in my plan and said it loud and clear. But you haven't come up with it. Reporter: This passion tore born and raised in Philadelphia taking this moment of racial reckoning directly to the president and not letting up. You've coininged the phrase make America great again. When has America been great for African-Americans in the ghetto of America? Are you aware how tone deaf that comes off to African-American communities? Well, I can say this, we have tremendous African-American support. You probably have seen it in the polls. We're doing extremely well. I mean your statement is though make it great again. These things have historically been happening for African-Americans in the ghettos and we have not been seeing a change. Because you say again, we need to see when was that great because that pushes us back to a time in which we cannot identify with such greatness and I mean you've said everything else about choking and everything else but you have yet to address and acknowledge there's been a race problem in America. If you go -- well, I hope there's not a race problem. Can I tell you, there's none with me because I have great respect for all races, for everybody. Reporter: When it was over, we followed up to ask the question. I got to ask, who are you voting for? Do you know? Man, well, I'll say it won't be trump. I'll say that, you know, weigh my option, still undecided. As of right now if I had to vote absolutely it would be for Mr. Trump. He showed that human side to him and that's what I was looking for. Reporter: Well, Joe Biden certainly was quick to fire back especially at that suggestion that he didn't himself implement a national mask mandate. He tweeted saying to be clear, I am not currently president but we can change that in November so now, George, we look ahead to the first debate later this month, Joe Biden says he started preparing. President trump, George, he says he thinks his best practice is his day job. Okay, Cecilia, thanks very much. Let's get more from Jon Karl. Jon, maybe that town meeting was a form of debate prep for president trump, an unusual for rum for him. Reporter: To see the George interacting with voters who are not his most loyal and enthusiast ache supporters and to his credit, he did not do what he often does when he faces tough questions from reporters in the briefing rooms, he did not lose his cool. He listened. He engaged. That said, he did almost nothing to talk about his vision for a second term and nothing to overcome what is his biggest weakness in this race, that is his handling of the pandemic, in fact, as you heard in Cecilia's piece, he once again suggests that it will just go away even without a vaccine. That is not going to overcome the doubts that a lot of voters have about how serious he is taking this. Jon, we have brand-new polls out from two key states. Reporter: Yeah, on one hand not good news for the trump campaign and terrible news for the trump campaign, first Wisconsin, he's down six points. That's a state he won last time, pretty much needs to win this time and Minnesota which he lost last time, he is down 16 points. That is the trump campaign's number one target to pick up a state that he did not win last time and the bottom line, George, is I've been tracking these statewide polls, in every battleground state that the campaigns say that they will -- that will determine the election trump is tide or losing playing defense everywhere. He's done it before and won but a tough place to be as an incumbent. Jon Karl, thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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