The NBC anchor who will be moderating the first presidential debate tonight is a Republican, it has been revealed. Lester Holt has been registered as a Republican in New York since 2003, the L.A. Times reported on Monday. Donald Trump, assuming that Holt was a Democrat, as the vast majority of journalists are, told Bill O’Reilly on Fox News earlier this month that Holt was a Democrat.
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway was on Morning Joe this morning to defend Trump’s faux pas.
Bloomberg Politics co-managing editor Mark Halperin excoriated Trump for being untruthful and asked Conway why Trump called the NBC anchor a Democrat if he didn’t know.
“Front and center is truthfulness on the part of both candidates,” Halperin said. “He said Lester Holt was a Democrat. Lester Holt is a Republican. How could he say such a thing that’s just black and white factually incorrect?”
“I don’t think he knew what Lester Holt’s registration was,” Conway answered. “A lie would mean he knew the man’s party registration.” She added that the Trump campaign “was appalled” at the treatment of NBC’s Matt Lauer after the NBC Commander-in-Chief Forum. “Matt Lauer did not deserve the blowback and the treatment that he received,” Conway said. “We thought he did a great job.”
Conway also questioned the objectivity of reporters who cover the presidential candidates, saying they are largely negative about Trump on social media.
“These are not profiles in courage, and this is not journalism,” she said of some of the reporters’ Twitter feeds. “Excuse the Trump campaign if we don’t feel like we can get a fair shake from certain people.”
Trump had high praise for Holt during his appearance on The O’Reilly Factor last Monday, but argued that Clinton’s media toadies were trying to game the system and trying to intimidate Lester into being tough on him.
When talk turned to debate moderator Lester Holt, Trump said he has respect for the NBC anchor, whom he called a professional, but added: “We’ll see what happens.”
He also defended NBC’s Matt Lauer, who was widely criticized for the Sept. 7 Commander In Chief forum.
“They came down on Matt,” said Trump. “Matt was very tough on me and he was tough on her. I thought he was equally tough, maybe even tougher on me. And they really hit him because I won that debate.”
He continued about Holt: “By the way, Lester is a Democrat. It’s a phony system. They are all Democrats. It’s a very unfair system.”
Trump can be forgiven for his mistake. Only seven percent of journalists identify as Republicans, the Washington Times recently reported, “and when they do give money to political campaigns they usually donate to Democrats, lending evidence to Republican presidential candidates’ claims that they are facing a hostile audience when they deal with the press.”
More than 90 percent of D.C. journalists vote Democrat, according to the Times.