Nathan Osborn of Philadelphia, the former speechwriter in the Obama-Biden administration, asked Mr. Biden a question about a Democratic proposal to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court.
ABC’s graphic on the screen said only that Mr. Osborn works in “communications.” He also had created a group in Philadelphia to boost former Democratic presidential primary candidate Pete Buttigieg.
Mr. Osborn’s attendance at the Biden town hall increased the accusations from the Trump campaign that ABC treated Mr. Biden too softly. Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh called the development “a joke.”
“A former Obama speechwriter was one of the questioners in Biden’s town hall,” Mr. Murtaugh tweeted. “Why not just give him [Mr. Biden] some milk and cookies?”
President Trump, speaking at a campaign rally in Ocala, Florida, criticized ABC for failing to ask Mr. Biden any questions about reports this week that his son Hunter received millions in foreign payments for little or no work while he was vice president.
“Did you see last night, did you see the easy questions? It’s the biggest story worldwide, it’s a corrupt family, and these people didn’t ask him [Joe Biden] one single question about it,” the president said.
Osburn, now a Google employee, worked in 2008 on “high-profile media inquiries” for the Obama-Biden campaign, according to his LinkedIn page, and “[h]elped secure and publicize high-profile newspaper endorsement.”
He later worked at the Commerce Department in the Obama-Biden administration. In 2003-2004, he worked one year at the Bush administration Federal Aviation Administration.
He asked Biden, “what do you say to LGBTQ Americans and others who are very worried right now about erosions of their rights and our democracy as a whole?” without noting Biden voted in the ’90s to federally ban same-sex marriage and for a bill banning gay soldiers.
Mieke Haeck, identified by ABC News as a physical therapist, was described as a first-time voter from State College, Pennsylvania. Her party affiliation wasn’t noted when she asked a question involving her 8-year-old transgender child.
Haeck is the wife of Ezra Nanes, a Democrat who ran an unsuccessful 2018 challenge against Republican state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, Fox News reports.
Stephanopolous introduced the questioners by saying some are pro-Biden, some are pro-President Trump and “some are still undecided.”
The revelations follow undisclosed information about a far more contentious ABC News town hall that featured Trump last month.
An “uncommitted” participant at that event, Kutztown University professor Ellesia Blaque, did not disclose volunteer work for Biden running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and had called Trump “a f–king moron” and a “pig” online.
Another supposed swing voter at the Trump town hall, Philadelphia pastor Carl Day, had tweeted he “never once supported Trump and won’t now. What I will do is call them out of their foolery.”