Lester Holt, NBC news anchor and the first presidential debate’s moderator, remained silent for the most part of the over 90-minute debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, but did not refrain from fact-checking the latter on his stand against the 2003 Iraq War.
“You had supported the war in Iraq before the invasion,” Holt told Trump as the candidates discussed their stands on facing the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, and tackling global terrorism.
“I did not support the war in Iraq,” the construction mogul reiterated, accusing his rival and former secretary of state Clinton of fueling such rumors. “That is a mainstream media nonsense put out by her, because she, frankly — I think the best person in her campaign is mainstream media.”
As Holt attempted to interject with facts, Trump maintained an aggressive stance.
“Would you like to hear?” Trump said. “I was against the war, wait a minute. I was against the war in Iraq.”
“The record shows otherwise,” Holt replied, to which Trump responded: “It does not show that. The record shows that I'm right.”
Holt was citing a 2002 interview with Howard Stern where Trump stated that he supported an invasion of Iraq — “Are you for invading Iraq?”
Trump reportedly responded at the time, “Yeah, I guess so.”
Trump later went on to alter his stance to express opposition to the war. In his defense, at the debate, Trump cited conversations with Fox News pundit Sean Hannity — who he said was firmly for the war — which would prove that the Republican nominee was definitely against the war: “We should have never been there.”
Holt fact-checked Trump in certain other instances too, causing Conservatives to level criticism against the moderator for being biased toward Clinton and the Democrats. Ironically, Holt is reportedly a registered Republican.