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CNN's Lemon, MSNBC's Maddow rail against NBC for Trump town hall: 'Embarrassing ratings ploy'

CNN's Don LemonDon Carlton LemonSchwarzenegger: California GOP has gone 'off the rails' with unofficial ballot boxes CNN's Lemon, MSNBC's Maddow rail against NBC for Trump town hall: 'Embarrassing ratings ploy' CNN's Lemon: Asking Biden, Harris about 'hypothetical' court packing 'not a legitimate question' MORE and MSNBC's Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowMaddow: Trump owes Welker an apology Hillicon Valley: Five takeaways on new election interference from Iran, Russia | Schumer says briefing on Iranian election interference didn't convince him effort was meant to hurt Trump | Republicans on Senate panel subpoena Facebook, Twitter CEOs | Schumer says briefing on Iranian election interference didn't convince him effort was meant to hurt Trump MORE on Wednesday ripped NBC for scheduling a Thursday night town hall with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump admin to announce coronavirus vaccine will be covered under Medicare, Medicaid: report Election officials say they're getting suspicious emails that may be part of malicious attack on voting: report McConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote MORE that will go head-to-head with a previously scheduled ABC town hall with Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats warn GOP will regret Barrett confirmation Trump campaign eyes election night party at his sold-out DC hotel Harris blasts GOP for confirming Amy Coney Barrett: 'We won't forget this' MORE.

Lemon, in a monologue on his show, called the move by NBC an “embarrassing ratings ploy” and accused the network of having been manipulated by the president.

“How does that help the American people?” Lemon asked of the scheduled event. “How does that inform the electorate, by putting those two people on at the same time and making people choose from one to the other? And don’t give me that BS about ‘Well, you can tape one.’ That’s not what this is about.”

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“This is an outright embarrassing ratings ploy on behalf of NBC,” the longtime CNN anchor continued. “And I am shocked and surprised that they would allow the president of the United States to do their programming and manipulate them into doing this. It is embarrassing.”

Lemon was not alone in his sentiment. Maddow, a current NBC employee and MSNBC host, also expressed disagreement with her parent network's town hall move while interviewing Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris blasts GOP for confirming Amy Coney Barrett: 'We won't forget this' GOP Senate confirms Trump Supreme Court pick to succeed Ginsburg The painstaking, state-by-state fight to protect abortion access MORE.

“Are you as mad as everybody else that NBC is doing a town hall with President Trump tomorrow instead of the debate, at the same time that Vice President Biden’s going to be on ABC?” Maddow asked Harris. 

“I’m not touching that," the California senator replied, later adding, “I know who I'll be watching.”

ABC announced the Biden event on Oct. 8 after Trump rejected a virtual debate proposal by the Commission on Presidential Debates for Oct. 15. The commission moved to make the second presidential debate virtual after Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

The Biden campaign scheduled with ABC after the Trump rejection, which eventually led to the commission canceling the Oct. 15 debate altogether last Friday.

The final presidential debate is still slated for Oct. 22.