Trump Accuses NBC's Lester Holt of 'Fudging' Video of Russia Interview

In this Aug. 21, 2018 photo, President Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a in Charleston, W.Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Earlier this morning, President Donald Trump tweeted, “What’s going on at @CNN is happening, to different degrees, at other networks – with @NBCNews being the worst. The good news is that Andy Lack(y) is about to be fired(?) for incompetence, and much worse. When Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia, they were hurt badly!”


That tweet reminded me of his statement on the campaign trail in early 2016 that, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

That statement is obviously hyperbolic. His point is that his supporters are so loyal that they’re willing to overlook almost anything that he has done or might do. So far, Trump’s assessment of his followers has been proven correct. As revelation after revelation of the president’s misdeeds has rolled in, his supporters have dug in and stubbornly refused to waver in their support for Donald Trump or even hold him accountable. However, I’m curious as to how his followers are going to respond to this morning’s tweet accusing Lester Holt of “fudging [Trump’s] tape on Russia.”

Continuing his attack on the credibility of the mainstream media — an attack that I don’t entirely disagree with — President Trump referenced a 2017 interview that he gave NBC New’s Lester Holt. An interview in which the president confessed that he fired then FBI Director James Comey because he was upset and frustrated over the Russian investigation.


President Trump’s legal team has most likely urged him to walk that claim back, and recent developments make the president’s admission to Holt even more potentially damaging. It’s understandable why he would attempt to undermine that admission. It’s less understandable why he would do so in a way that is blatantly and demonstrably dishonest. The president’s interview with Lester Holt, which aired live at the time, is available for all to see on NBC’s website.

Senior political writer for The Fix, Aaron Blake, correctly tweeted, “FWIW, the entire Lester Holt interview has been posted to NBC’s website ever since May 2017. If there’s something exculpatory in it, Trump might want to point it out.”

A quick run-down of the events are:

  1. Donald Trump confessed on live TV that he fired James Comey, at least in part, because of the Russian investigation.
  2. Millions of Americans have watched that interview. Trump’s tweet is ensuring that many more are watching it now.
  3. Trump accused Lester Holt of doctoring the tape to make it appear that the president said something that he did not say.
  4. Lester Holt did not doctor the tape.
  5. Donald Trump knowingly and willfully lied.

Regardless of your personal opinion about Lester Holt, President Trump blatantly lied in that tweet and slandered Holt. The question now is, will Trump’s claim that he could shoot somebody on 5th Avenue and not lose any supporters begin to show cracks?

I, for one, am skeptical that Donald Trump’s bold-faced lie this morning will cause even the slightest twinge of conscience among most of his supporters. In 2016, Trump supporters decided to sell out their morals and their ethics to elect a bully to beat up another bully. Pragmatism at its finest, or its worst, depending on your vantage point. And here’s the thing: I’m not expecting or even wanting Trump’s supporters to completely abandon the president. However, it would be comforting if they would hold him accountable for his lie and slander that he tweeted this morning.

But they won’t. They’ll accuse those of us who are calling the president out for his lie of being “cucks.”

Sadly, a meme helps illustrate the prevailing attitudes toward President Trump. On one side are the Trump supporters who blindly support the president, no matter what. On the other side are those who hate Donald Trump and would find him at fault if he personally saved the life of a transgender baby seal by giving it mouth-to-mouth. In the middle, stand the mostly silent majority. The meme speaks for itself.


Sadly for America, the two sides in that meme are controlling the national discourse, the national mood, and the nation’s continued bifurcation. Trump’s supporters calling the president out on his lie would go a long way to helping restore a little bit of sanity in this country.



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