Are Lester Holt And Hillary Clinton Friends? Donald Trump Thinks So
Although we're just days away from the first presidential debate, Donald Trump has already making unsubstantiated claims about it. In an interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, Trump claimed that the first debate moderator Lester Holt is a Democrat, prompting some to wonder if Hillary Clinton and Holt are friends. Like so many things that Trump claims, this is demonstrably false, but it has already opened up questions about Clinton's relationship with Holt.
Before all this, Trump laid out a series of excuses that seemed to prepare him to avoid debating Clinton at all. His handlers must have known that that would have been close to political suicide, because since then he seems to have mostly come around to the idea. He's still been dishing out claims of unfairness at Anderson Cooper, the CNN anchor set to moderate the second debate, and he's said that he wants to debate Clinton without a moderator at all.
All this is just a setup; no matter how it actually goes, Trump's supporters will likely watch the first debate and then believe that "Democrat" Holt treated their candidate unfairly. It won't matter at all that Trump lied about Holt's political affiliation — as with so many of Trump's other lies, the mere fact that he pronounced it to be true makes it true to millions of the people who support him.
Those who wish to take it further, though, and claim that Clinton has some sort of longstanding relationship with Holt that would preclude his ability to be unbiased, won't have much to base their arguments on. Sure, Holt has certainly interviewed Clinton before, during both the primary season and the general election, but that doesn't mean they're friends.
So what can you, the viewer, take out of all of this? If Holt and Clinton are good friends, there is no public evidence of it. Holt is a registered Republican, but he is highly respected as an even-handed journalist, and he holds the highly coveted position of NBC Nightly News anchor. The Commission on Presidential Debates took every effort to put together an unbiased slate of debate moderators, and despite the difficulty of that job, they seem to have done a good job — at least in the eyes of most people.