Is it a debate moderator’s job to fact-check?
Donald Trump should drop out of the next two presidential debates – unless he gets a promise that the moderator will stick to the sidelines, top Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani says.
Monday night moderator Lester Holt overstepped his bounds and got his own facts wrong when he called out Trump on five occasions, the former New York mayor said.
Speaking to reporters in the spin room post-debate, Giuliani says he was particularly irked that Holt had questioned Trump on his support for the controversial "stop and frisk" police policy that Giuliani had championed as mayor. (Holt said it had been ruled “unconstitutional; Giuliani disputes that. In 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that New York’s stop and frisk policy was unconstitutional because it of its “indirect racial profiling” of blacks and Latinos.)
"If I were Donald Trump I wouldn’t participate in another debate unless I was promised that the journalist would act like a journalist and not an incorrect, ignorant fact checker," Giuliani said.
He accused Holt of interfering "worse than Candy Crowley," – the former CNN debate moderator who was assailed by conservatives for correcting Mitt Romney during a 2012 debate. Giuliani’s complaints come as the role of the moderator has been hotly debated, with Clinton’s campaign pushing for a moderator who calls the candidates on falsehoods.
But Giuliani insisted that Holt only checked Trump’s statements: "He should be ashamed of himself," he said. "What’s he doing interfering?"
As for the second and third already-scheduled presidential debates, Giuliani said he’d recommend no more unless the moderators "promise they would be a moderator not a fact checker."
"If you wonder why Donald Trump thinks that the press is a left-wing basically oriented group, Lester Holt proved it tonight," Giuliani said.
Giuliani wouldn’t say whether he’ll counsel Trump to skip the debates, saying "I didn’t say what I’m advising him, I said what I would do."
Trump, however, gave Holt a passing grade. Appearing on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning, Trump said he’d give him a “C, C+.”
He said Holt “gave me very unfair questions at the end, the last three, four questions, but I’m not complaining about that. I thought he was okay.”
Asked about the possibility of Trump not appearing at the debates, Clinton told reporters Tuesday aboard her campaign plane that she plans on showing up.
“He gets to decide what he gets to do,” she said of Trump. “If I’m the only person on stage, I’m the only person on stage.”