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NYT columnist: Pressure mounting on NBC to make town hall a 'nightmare for Trump'

New York Times media columnist Ben Smith said Thursday that there's pressure mounting on NBC News to make its 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 a "nightmare." 

"Enormous pressure on NBC now to make this a nightmare for Trump," Smith said. 

The comment from Smith comes after the news network received backlash on social media and elsewhere for scheduling the event at the same time as Democratic 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's town hall on ABC. 

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Trump's town hall, scheduled for Thursday night, will be moderated by "Today" show co-host Savannah Guthrie from Miami. Both Biden's and Trump's town halls were scheduled after the second presidential debate scheduled for the evening was canceled by the Commission on Presidential Debates. 

On Wednesday, when NBC announced it would host a town hall for Trump, the news prompted outrage from some of the network's biggest names, including MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and several cast members of NBC’s popular drama “This Is Us."

While interviewing vice presidential nominee Sen. 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 (D-Calif.), Maddow asked, “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?” 

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

In addition, more than 100 Hollywood stars and directors signed a letter demanding NBC withdraw from the telecast.

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“We have always thought of NBCUniversal as both a terrific creative home and a brand that stands for the best in entertainment and broadcast journalism,” the letter reads. “This is why we have been devastated to learn that you have chosen to air President Trump’s town hall this Thursday night at 8 p.m., directly opposite Vice President Biden’s town hall."

Trump sarcastically told Fox Business host Stuart Varney that he expects the event to be fair.

"You’ve got a town hall tonight with NBC," Varney said.

"Yes. I’m sure that’ll be fair," Trump said.

The next presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 22.