This is the moment a Dominican woman wept during an emotional exchange with Donald Trump at a town hall event on Tuesday, hosted in Pennsylvania.
During the televised town hall in the key election battleground state, President Donald Trump faced questions from uncommitted voters sitting in the audience on his handling of the pandemic, race relations, immigration and crime.
In an emotional encounter during the event – hosted by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos – Trump was confronted with a question from an audience member who said her mother had died from cancer. But the president wrongly thought she had died from Covid-19.
Flora Cruceta, who told the president that she and her mother had emigrated from the Dominican Republic in 2006, fought back tears as she spoke.
‘We come from Dominican Republic in 2006 to live our American dream. But she forgot how to take care of herself and she died last month,’ she said. ‘She had breast cancer but it made metastases on her brain, bone, and lungs and she passed on the 19th [of August].
‘One of her biggest dreams was to become a citizen to vote, and she did. She did, 10 days before she died. And I did it too. She pushed me so hard to do it and I did [on August] 28th,’ she added.
Flora Cruceta (right) who told the president (left) that she and her mother had emigrated from the Dominican Republic in 2006, fought back tears as she spoke to Trump during an ABC town hall event on Tuesday, hosted in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania
Going on, she said she was ‘here because of her’, and thanked the president saying ‘you made people closer’ during the pandemic, before posing a question to him from her mother, who she said was meant to be in the audience with her.
‘Her question for you was – because she wrote this question – what will you do for our immigration system? What will you change to make more people, like me and like her, to become citizens and vote?’ Cruceta asked.
In response, Trump assured her that his administration is ‘doing something with immigration’ that be believes ‘is going to be very strong.’
‘We want people to come into our country, people like you and like your mother,’ he said. ‘It’s a very sad story but we want people to come into our country. We want them to come in – a lot of people but we want them to come in through a legal system.’
Trump went on allude to a ‘merit system’ that is being worked on ‘very hard right now’, saying that the system would be announced soon. ‘It’s going to have quite an impact. I think it’s going to be something that actually will be popular for all,’ he said.
Without giving any more away, he turned to addressing the woman’s loss of her mother, calling it ‘devastating because I can imagine how you feel and it sounds like [her mother was] a great woman.
Cruceta said that her mother had died on August 19 from coronavirus, having been suffering from breast cancer. ‘One of her biggest dreams was to become a citizen to vote, and she did. She did, 10 days before she died,’ she told the president
‘She gave us a great daughter, a great child, what she’s done with you, the way you are. The love that you have for your mother, I can see that, it’s hard,’ he said.
Then in a baffling twist, Trump suggested her mother had died after contracting coronavirus.
‘So many people and they die alone. They die alone because this is such a vicious thing. You can’t go there and hold their hand,’ he said.
‘We’ll have it taken care of. It’s going to get taken care of. The vaccines are going to make a big difference. What has made a big difference is Remdesivir.
In response to Cruceta’s question on the president’s plans for the U.S. immigration system, Trump told her that his administration is ‘doing something with immigration’ that be believes ‘is going to be very strong’ before going on to sympathise with her loss
Trump (left) was taking part in an ABC News town hall event, hosted by ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos (right) in the key election battleground state of Pennsylvania, during which he faced questions from uncommitted voters
‘We have many things now and things are going to be announced here, which frankly if you take a look at some of the things we’re doing in terms of – the word wouldn’t be cure but the word be therapeutically or therapeutics, we have some incredible things happening, which is so important.’
Trump said that treatments are ‘in a certain way as important than the vaccine’, saying – with these hypothetical treatments – the woman’s mother could have gone to hospital and be given ‘a transfusion on a shot and they can get better – get better much faster.’
He added that there are other treatments ‘coming out’ and ‘that in order to get them, we had to get the FDA to approve this product, these very sophisticated medicines and I guess you could call them a medicine.’
‘Dr. Hahn, the head of the FDA, Alex Azar, they’ve really done a fantastic job. I believe, George, that none of this would have happened in another administration,’ he added. ‘The FDA is approving things at a level that they’ve never done and a speed with which they’ve never acted before.’
The primetime special was the first of its kind in this election cycle and the first time in many months that Trump has come into contact with undecided voters.
It was held in a virtually empty venue, with the small number of questioners the only audience, some of whom kept their masks on when they spoke.
It was moderated by George Stephanopoulos and saw Trump pressed repeatedly – both by questioners and by the GMA anchor – on his handling of the pandemic, race relations, and crime.