Matt Lauer is facing major backlash following his moderation of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s Commander-in-Chief Forum on Wednesday, September 7.
As viewers witnessed during Wednesday night’s broadcast, Lauer, 58 — who was granted only 30 minutes with each presidential candidate — devoted a good portion of his time with Clinton, 68, to questioning her about sending confidential information over a private email server while she was serving as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. (After an investigation was completed in July, the FBI recommended no charges be brought against the Democratic nominee.)
Once he finished grilling the former first lady about the email scandal, he seemed to rush through other important topics such as domestic terror attacks. Throughout their conversation, Lauer spoke over Clinton to remind her that their time was running short. “As briefly as you can,” he told her at one point.
After Lauer and Clinton finished their discussion, it was Trump’s turn in the hot seat. According to the New York Times, the broadcaster has interviewed the ex–Celebrity Apprentice host, 70, fewer times than his Today show colleagues — which seemed evident during their sit-down last night.
Critics grew angry with Lauer after he failed to fact-check Trump when the real estate tycoon stated: “I was totally against the war in Iraq.” Earlier in the program, Clinton reminded Lauer that her political rival once endorsed former POTUS George W. Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq during an interview with Howard Stern. Rather than inserting a natural follow-up about Trump’s contradictory remarks, Lauer pressed him about his habit of “[saying] things [that he] later regrets.”
Supporters of both Clinton and Trump took to social media to share their disappointment in the Today show anchor’s performance — which some viewers criticized as “misogynistic,” “awful” and “soft,” among other things. See their reactions below.
— Unite4Women (@Unite4W) September 8, 2016
— Patti (@mainesilver) September 8, 2016
Too soft #MattLauer
— Javier Palma (@imjavierpalma) September 8, 2016
— August (@getmebadges) September 8, 2016
How does #MattLauer not push back on two lies in same sentence. He supported Iraq War and Troop withdrawal.
— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) September 8, 2016
#MattLauer pretty much gave a master class last night on the ways implicit gender bias shapes interactions. Shameful.
— Jonathan Metzl (@JonathanMetzl) September 8, 2016
I’d be willing to bet a good 75% of my followers would have been more prepared to moderate the Vets Forum than #MattLauer.
— missLtoe (@missLtoe) September 8, 2016
— Celia (@_celia_marie_) September 8, 2016
Lauer has yet to address the criticism.
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