The first debate of the 2016 presidential election on Monday saw Donald Trump face off against Hillary Clinton…and Lester Holt.
The NBC News moderator behaved more like another debater as he shilled for Hillary Clinton time and again by grilling Trump while ignoring major Clinton issues. But Team Trump’s initial reaction may surprise you:
While Holt’s performance was already being slammed by conservatives who feel Republicans have not been treated fairly by debate moderators, Trump initially said he did a fine job.
VIDEO: Donald Trump tells me he thought Lester Holt did a great job, questions were fair >>> pic.twitter.com/7vVBb4l3Bl
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) September 27, 2016
Interestingly, Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway seemed to agree.
Trump campaign manager defends debate moderator: “I thought Lester Holt did a great job” https://t.co/UlfPFvvRkE
— Independent Journal (@TheIJR) September 27, 2016
But, Trump also tweeted this after the debate.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2016
TRUMP CAMPAIGN ATTACKING @LesterHoltNBC!!!! Now you KNOW they know how bad this was.
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) September 27, 2016
Holt repeatedly fact-checked Trump on some of his positions, even arguing with the Republican nominee instead of simply asking questions. And the questions? Many seemed to be obvious Clinton talking points and set up Trump for an attack by his opponent each time.
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) September 27, 2016
Trump was given the third degree over his many bankruptcies, why he has not released his tax returns, his comments about women, the birther conspiracy theory and “stop and frisk.” But in an obvious bias, Holt never questioned Clinton on obvious scandals that have plagued her campaign like her emails, Benghazi and the Clinton Foundation.
— Tim S Clark (@TimSClark) September 27, 2016
Dumb @LesterHoltNBC was EXTREMELY bias during this debate
He did not question Crooked Hillary on Benghazi, Clinton Foundation & More!
— Jeff (@JeffTutorials) September 27, 2016
— Deplorable Jim (@SaveUSA1776) September 27, 2016
After remarking that Clinton had become “the first woman” to be nominated for president by a major political party, Holt then set-up Trump as sexist by asking him to elaborate on his comments that Clinton did not have a presidential look.
Holt even allowed audience exclamations that favored Clinton but stopped the cheers for statements made by Trump. He was slammed for losing control of the debate as the candidates ignored his attempts at control on several occasions.
— jimgeraghty (@jimgeraghty) September 27, 2016
But Holt’s shameless bowing to the liberal media and the Clinton campaign was not missed by social media users who were quick to weigh in.
Nearly all of Holt’s followups and fact-checking efforts were directed at Trump, not Clinton. Look for a big debate over his role
— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) September 27, 2016
Bad job by Lester Holt & mainstream reporters on Trump walkout. Let him hang himself, tying the noose isn’t your job. Ethics, assholes.
— Tony Maglio (@TonyMaglio) September 27, 2016
Lester Holt train of thought right now:
Tax returns- ck
Birth Cert- ck
Emails? Health? Benghazi?
(Oops we ran out of time)
— Eric Bolling (@ericbolling) September 27, 2016
Lester Holt questions all attacks on Trump which put him on defense all night!! Not 1 question on any things she has done #debates
— Mike Matusow (@themouthmatusow) September 27, 2016
@themouthmatusow They were literally Clinton/Obama talking points.
— D.J. Slash (@RealDJSlash) September 27, 2016
— Max McLeieer (@MMcLeieer) September 27, 2016
Lester Holt shamed himself and his profession tonight.
— Drew (@Hollin_Drew) September 27, 2016
— laurel720 (@laurel720) September 27, 2016