Lester Holt was the first moderator tasked with refereeing Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump in the first presidential debate, but he will not be the last.
In an election cycle where Trump has called out moderators from the Republican primary debates for alleged bias and with the Clinton-Trump debates expected to draw record numbers of viewers, the pressure on the moderators will greater than ever. No matter what happens in Monday's debate, there will be some people unhappy with Holt's line of questioning and the way he steers the heated contest. It will up to Anderson Cooper, Martha Raddatz and Elaine Quijano to carry the moderator torch next.
The next debate after Monday's big showdown will actually not feature Clinton or Trump. Instead, CBS News' Elaine Quijano will moderate the vice presidential debate between Clinton's running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, and Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Quijano is a Filipino-American journalist from suburban Chicago who, after stints in Champaign, Illinois, and Tampa Bay, Florida, landed a job as correspondent for CNN. Quijano left CNN in 2009 to join CBS News where she has turned heads as a general assignment reporter. The VP debate, which will be held on Oct. 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, will be her first time at the helm for a major presidential debate.
But the real pressure is on CNN's Anderson Cooper and ABC's Martha Raddatz. Cooper and Raddatz will moderate the second presidential debate between Clinton and Trump on Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis in St. Louis, Missouri.
Raddatz is ABC News' Chief Global Affairs Correspondent. She reports for ABC's "World News Tonight with David Muir" and "Nightline." Raddatz and David Muir moderated a December 2015 debate with Clinton and Democratic primary contenders Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley, as well as a February debate between Trump and the Republican primary field.
Cooper, meanwhile, is the face of CNN. He is the anchor of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360°" and is CNN's go-to broadcaster for breaking news situations, often going out into the field to cover major stories. He is also a correspondent for CBS' "60 Minutes." Cooper has been at the helm of much of CNN's election cover since the primary season began and previously moderated a Democratic primary debate, as well as a town hall with the primary candidates. He is considered the most prominent openly gay journalist in America.
Trump has objected to Cooper moderating the second debate.
"I don’t think Anderson Cooper should be a moderator, because Anderson Cooper works for CNN and over the last couple of days, I’ve seen how Anderson Cooper behaves," Trump told the Washington Post. "He’ll be very biased, very biased. I don’t think he should be a moderator. I’ll participate, but I don’t think he should be a moderator. CNN is the Clinton News Network and Anderson Cooper, I don’t think he can be fair."
Trump will likely echo those allegations of bias if he considers the second debate to be unfavorable to him. It is safe to say the pressure on Cooper and Raddatz will be great.