Matt Lauer Under Fire for ‘Softball’ Questions to Trump

Matt Lauer, Matt Lauer Commander In Chief Forum


Today Show host Matt Lauer faced a wave of criticism Wednesday night following NBC’s Commander-In-Chief Forum. By and large, the reaction was that Lauer, who moderated the forum, took a much more aggressive approach with Hillary Clinton than he did with Donald Trump. Many critics felt Lauer spent too much time addressing Clinton’s email scandal, while he failed to fact-check Trump on several statements.

During the one-hour forum, Clinton and Trump appeared back-to-back as they separately addressed an audience of veterans and active military members.

During and after the forum, Twitter was flooded by people who said they felt Lauer “grilled” Clinton with tough follow-up questions, but did not hold Trump to the same standards, who was asked more open-ended questions that he often evaded. At one point #LaueringTheBar was even trending on Twitter. The rough reviews weren’t only limited to social media, Lauer also received his share of criticism from the press.

A main criticism of Lauer was that he did not challenge Trump when the Republican nominee claimed he opposed the Iraq invasion all along, which has been proven false.

Trump told the audience he stated his opposition to the war from the start, and referenced an Esquire magazine article as evidence. The article was published in 2004, a year after the war began in 2003. According to Politifact, Trump only began to publicly oppose the war after it started.

In fact, in a 2002 interview with Howard Stern, Trump said he supported the Iraq war. In the interview, Stern asked if Trump was for the invasion, he responded: “Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.”

Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, who re-surfaced the 2002 Stern interview, was among those who expressed disappointment in Lauer’s follow-up, or rather lack thereof.

Instead of setting the record straight, Lauer moved along to the next question, which was about Trump’s tendency to “say things that you later regret.”

While Lauer asked Trump about his temperament, he did not bring up some of his most contentious statements.

As CNNMoney pointed out, Lauer did not press Trump about some of his most controversial remarks, including those about Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan and Sen. John McCain’s prisoner-of-war status.

Two topics that are fitting for a forum on military affairs, and veterans issues.

Another aspect that drew ire was the amount of time Lauer devoted to Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state. For 13 minutes of the allotted 30-minute slot, he pressed Clinton for more details on her handling of classified information, then asked if her actions were “disqualifying” to serve as commander-in-chief.

Since Lauer devoted a chunk of time to questions regarding Clinton’s private email server, it seemed to rush other crucial topics including ISIS.

When a veteran in the audience asked Clinton to explain her plan to defeat ISIS, Lauer interjected before Clinton replied.

“As briefly as you can,” he told the Democratic candidate.

Other critics such as Jon Favreau, the former speechwriter for President Barack Obama, felt asking Clinton about her use of a private email server was reasonable, but Trump should have been asked the same type of hard-hitting questions rather than open-ended ones.

Favreau wrote on Twitter, “I don’t blame Lauer for asking the email question. But it’s ABSURD that he started off with Trump, ‘Why should you be Commander-in-Chief?'”

Some indicated they believe the backlash will increase the pressure on Lester Holt, who is scheduled to moderate the first presidential debate on September 26 at Hofstra University in New York.

It has also increased conversation surrounding how much fact-checking should be done by the moderator during the upcoming debates.

Fox’s Chris Wallace, who will moderate the final debate, has already said hat he will not fact-check candidates, stating, “I do not believe it’s my job to be a truth squad.”




HELLO? How did Matt Lauer just happen to have Trump’s tweet from years ago that correlated with the question from a Democrat in the audience. Also, guy that asked audience question was a seed! Pics of him with Hillary and protesting Trump!


I thought I was the only one to notice the “layups” he gave Trump. He didn’t ask about his tax returns on stances on immigration but he literally berated HRC on the email. He didn’t ask about the donation to the Florida AG that Trump was fined for but had her speed up on ISIS. He also let Trump berate the President. Trump also spoke with no fact checker. That alone is in his wheelhouse

Shine Ohla

This was a Commander and Chief debate…nothing to do with taxes or illegals or why fat ass can’t stop coughing.
The tide has turned, she can’t win! She lies and denies but the facts are the facts! The smoke being blown up your back side is really going to smell bad in 63days😜


Besides she was taking forever with the questions and after Matt asked to before they started not to go off track and start on trump and she did after few minutes! Look how many questions he answered. She also wore an earpiece in her ear so she had people probably telling her what to say


How ignorant u americans are! How can a country with you like persons can call herself the best? Really god left you many times back. You may were best once, now you are some illiterate dirt while rest of the world advanced.


EXACTLY! Last night Hillary admitted she made a mistake voting for the war in Iraq.
Tell that to the gold star families and maimed vets.
As she stated about the American martyrs in Benghazi, “at this point what difference does it make?”
She also filibustered her answers (typical lawyer/politician) especially when it came to her criminal usage/destruction of classified e-mails.
Hillary does not hold herself accountable to the same standards as others in the military.
She should if she wants to be Commander In Chief.
Don’t want a president who could place our country and military in harm’s way with bad judgement and who FBI Director James Comey has called “extremely careless.”

Jeanne Esposito

Hillary did act as though she was in charge, as always. When asked a question she elaborated and turned it around until it dawned on you that she had not really answered what was asked of her, Lawyerese or Clintonese, spin, which ever. Lauer tried to shorten her answers which did not often work. More questions were asked of Trump. He answered them pretty much as they were asked. Trump came off as more believable but not as polished, which was yo be expected.


Yes, facts are facts. So Trumpmeister – Only I can fix ISIS! I know more than the Generals! Believe me!/Generals have 30 days to bring me a plan! I support the invasion of Iraq!/I never supported the Iraq invasion! Gadaffi is killing his people and we’re doing nothing! We need to bomb the hell out of him!/Hillary made a hugely bad decision in Libya! In CIA briefing learned Obama never listened to advisors!/CIA doesn’t give that kind of info! Going to ban ALL Muslim from entering USA! Going to deport 11mil Mexicans 1st hour in office!/We’re going to vet them and do this humanely./Going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay!/Goes to Mexico and NEVER mentions wall! – We did great in Mexico! Maybe YOU should fact check Shine Ola! Talk about a liar and flip-flopper! NEVER TRUMP!! WON’T HAPPEN!

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