'Tone deaf' Donald Trump given rough ride by voters in election campaign Q&A

The US president also said that "a lot of people think that masks are not good'

Donald Trump was told his "make America great again" slogan was “tone deaf” during a confrontational question-and-answer session with voters. 

At a number of points during Tuesday night's “town hall” on ABC News Mr Trump was faced with impassioned critiques of his policies and record from members of the audience in the room.

Mr Trump took on a more even tone than his combative press conferences and tub-thumping campaign speeches, nodding and listening as both supporters and critics of his administration posed their questions.

The event was much different from the usual ones put on for Mr Trump which see him address supporters or hold round-tables with invited guests, with hardball questions coming not from journalists but voters.

In one exchange that made headlines an African-American pastor called Carl Day challenged Mr Trump over his 2016 campaign slogan which his supporters wear on red masks. 

Mr Day said: “You’ve coined the phrase 'make America great again’. When has America been great for African-Americans in the ghetto of America? Are you aware of how tone deaf that comes off to the African-American community?"

Mr Trump defended his record on race relations, saying that he had overseen economic growth that pushed unemployment among the African-American community in the country to record lows before the coronavirus pandemic hit. 

In a lengthy exchange Mr Day later said “you’ve yet to address and acknowledge that there’s a race problem in America”.

Mr Trump replied: “Well I hope there's not a race problem. I can tell you, there’s none with me.”

At another moment Mr Trump was confronted by a woman about whether he would remove protections that ensure people with pre-existing conditions can get medical insurance.

While the voter was explaining her situation - she has a long-term illness - and asking her question Mr Trump said “no” when she mentioned the removal of pre-existing conditions.

“Please stop and let me finish my question sir”, the woman shot back.

Mr Trump argued he would replace Obamacare, the health care legislation of his predecessor which he is fighting to remove, with a plan that would still keep those protections in place. 

Elsewhere Mr Trump caused confusion by accusing Joe Biden, his Democratic opponent, of not delivering on his promise to issue a mandate encouraging all Americans to wear a face mask to tackle Covid-19. 

The president said: “I will say this: they said at the Democrat convention they’re going to do a national mandate. They never did it because they’ve checked out and they didn’t do it."

Mr Trump then blamed Mr Biden directly, saying: "He didn’t do it. I mean, he never did it". Critics pointed out that Mr Biden was not the president and could only implement such a policy when in office. 

Mr Biden shared a clip of the exchange on Twitter in a fund-raising plea, writing: "To be clear: I am not currently president. But if you chip in now, we can change that in November".