On the issues that have plagued Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, presidential debate moderator Lester Holt was silent, noted Donald Trump in a tweet following Monday night’s presidential debate.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2016
In the months leading up to the debate, Clinton has faced continual revelations about classified and other sensitive material that was in the emails she sent and received through her private email server while serving as secretary of state. Those emails revealed that officials of the Clinton Foundation directly communicated with State Department staffers on behalf of foundation donors seeking favors. The Benghazi attacks of 2012, in which four Americans died, took place during Clinton’s term as secretary of state, leaving questions about her role in preparing the Benghazi compound in Libya against the attack as well as her role in responding to it.
The only instance Clinton’s emails were discussed during the debate was when Trump brought up the issue.
Trump said he would release his tax returns if Clinton “releases her emails. … Why did she delete 33,000 emails?”
“You know, I made a mistake using a private email,” Clinton said when she was given time to respond. “And if I had to do it over again I would obviously do it differently. But I’m not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake and I take responsibility for that.”
Trump did not find her response sufficient.
“That was more than a mistake,” he replied. “That was done purposely. That was not a mistake. That was done purposely.”
Trump then hammered the issue home.
“When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment, taking the fifth so they are not prosecuted, when you have the man that set up the illegal server taking the fifth, I think it is disgraceful,” he said.
Writing on Breitbart, Joel B. Pollack said that Holt was on Clinton’s side in several areas of the debate.
“Holt never asked Clinton about her e-mail scandal, about Benghazi, or about the Clinton Foundation and its dubious dealings. But he did ask Trump about his tax returns, arguing — not asking — that there might be questionable information in them that the American public deserved to hear,” Pollack wrote.
Holt’s disparity in handling the candidates was also commented upon by Kelly Riddell in the Washington Times, who gave Holt an F for his lack of fairness.
“Mr. Holt was anything but moderate. Mr. Trump got the most pointed questions all night, on racist stop-and-frisk, birtherism, his tax returns, Mrs. Clinton’s ‘stamina’ and being the first woman president,” wrote Riddell. “Mrs. Clinton’s email server? Not so much. FBI investigation? Nada. Pay for play allegations with the Clinton Foundation? Not worth it. Nearly all of Mr. Holt’s follow-up questions were directed at Mr. Trump, not Mrs. Clinton. Most of his interruptions were of Mr. Trump. Lesson learned? Going after the referees paid off. Mrs. Clinton’s team signaled they wanted a ‘fact-checked’ debate that would pound Mr. Trump, and they got it.”