Lester Holt is set to moderate the first of three presidential debates this election season on Monday, September 26, and a certain GOP presidential nominee has already complained that Holt will be biased in favor of his opponent, insisting that Holt is a Democrat, even though he’s actually a registered Republican.
Trump also complained about the dates on the debate schedule, saying that they were unfair to him, specifically, because they conflicted with NFL football game times. He even told reporters that the NFL sent him a letter calling the scheduling “ridiculous,” but the NFL was quick to call Trump on his lie.
This week, Trump came up with an all new complaint. One candidate’s campaign is calling for real time fact checks by the debate moderator and the other is against that idea, which is fairly telling. Clinton’s campaign would like a model like the one Candy Crowley used during the 2012 elections when, in a defining moment of the debate, she fact-checked Mitt Romney over a false claim about President Obama and the Republican candidate never quite recovered.
Donald Trump is furious. He’s so furious, in fact, that he’s threatening to sic his supporters on Holt if he calls Trump on his lies.
In an interview with Fox News today, Trump said he would have people “watching” to see if Lester Holt “succumbs to the pressure” to fact-check him. In other words, if Holt doesn’t allow Trump to argue using lies, biased sources, and unsourced facts, his supporters will protest.
He’s furious over this with good reason. Trump has, so far, been allowed to lie during town halls and primary debates with no immediate need to clarify or defend his ridiculously false statements. He was allowed to lie in a town hall with Matt Lauer when he said he had been against the Iraq War from the beginning, although video evidence is readily available that proves that to be untrue. He was also allowed to cite inaccurate statistics to Marine veteran Rachael Fredricks about the rate of veteran suicides, while she could only shake her head at his audacity.
Had Trump been fact-checked by Lauer either time, his rants on Twitter and in press conferences about Lauer’s bias toward Democrats and the unfair treatment of truth-tellers in the liberal media would have been endless.
In Wizard of Oz style, Trump is doing his best to convince his supporters to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” If he can play to their paranoia about the liberal media and biased reporters ahead of time, he’ll give them something to use to insist that he won a debate in which Hillary Clinton mopped the floor with him.
Featured image via Getty/Sara D. Davis