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

CNN's Don LemonDon Carlton LemonBiden's belated filibuster decision: A pretense of principle at work The absolute farce that was the Biden-Lemon town hall Biden: Republicans who say Democrats want to defund the police are lying MORE and MSNBC's Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowBudowsky: How Biden can defeat COVID-19 for good Democratic group launches seven-figure ad campaign on voting rights bill GOP's attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message MORE on Wednesday ripped NBC for scheduling a Thursday night town hall with President TrumpDonald TrumpCuban embassy in Paris attacked by gasoline bombs Trump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios Trump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race MORE that will go head-to-head with a previously scheduled ABC town hall with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

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 HarrisBiden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act Will Pence primary Trump — and win? Kavanaugh conspiracy? Demands to reopen investigation ignore both facts and the law 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 BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race GOP lawmakers request Cuba meeting with Biden For families, sending money home to Cuba shouldn't be a political football MORE’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.