Donald Trump accused NBC News’ Lester Holt of favoring Hillary Clinton in Monday night’s presidential debate.
Steve Doocy, a co-host of Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” asked Trump in a phone interview on Tuesday morning whether the GOP nominee thought Holt “leaned a little bit over into the left lane” to compensate for criticism that Holt’s colleague Matt Lauer endured for his moderation of NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum earlier this month.
“Yeah totally. More than a little,” Trump responded. “He leaned over to that lane.”
Trump’s critique was an abrupt reversal from his positive review of Holt in the post-debate spin room on Monday night, when he said he thought Holt “did a great job” and his questions were “very fair.”
Later on “Fox and Friends,” when asked to grade Holt’s performance, Trump gave him a “C” or “C+.”
“I thought he was OK. I thought he was fine,” Trump said. “He gave me very unfair questions at the end.”
“But you know I’m not complaining about that,” the real estate mogul added.
The “unfair questions” Trump may be referring to were Holt’s questions for Trump about his birther claims and support for the Iraq War.
In both cases, Holt called out Trump’s lies in advance. He called the questions Trump raised about President Barack Obama’s birthplace “false claims” and noted in his question about the Iraq War that Trump had supported the war when it began. Holt then followed up to reiterate contradictions with Trump’s past statements.
Trump also noted on “Fox and Friends” that he liked the moderator earlier in the debate: “I thought Lester was really good for the half, because he was bringing up general and main subjects that were important. Things like the economy.”
This post has been updated with additional comment from Trump on “Fox and Friends” as well as from the post-debate spin room.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.