Matt Lauer failed the moderator test (because he didn’t beat up on Trump or something)

Matt Lauer failed the moderator test (because he didn’t beat up on Trump or something)
Matt Lauer with fans, Today Show. Rockefeller Plaza, NYC, May 2014. (Image: Debby Wong / Shutterstock)

Wednesday night’s “Commander-in-Chief Forum” on NBC should have gone down as the first time the two 2016 presidential candidate shared a stage. But it will be remembered largely for the shortcomings of the man who was tasked with moderating.

Matt Lauer, the “Today” show host, flunked in primetime. And his failure was even more remarkable because he had the very information he needed to succeed.

During the first half of an hourlong event, Hillary Clinton pointed out to Lauer that Republican nominee Donald Trump had expressed support for the Iraq War prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion, even though he’s falsely claimed throughouthis entire candidacy to have been staunchly opposed to it.

“My opponent was for the war in Iraq,” Clinton said at the forum simulcast on NBC and MSNBC. “He says he wasn’t. You can ― you can go back and look at the record. He supported it. He told Howard Stern he supported it.”

But when Trump took the stage in the second half of the event, he cited his criticism of the war in an August 2004 Esquire story as evidence he opposed the invasion, which actually began 16 months earlier. In a room full of Iraq War veterans, Lauer didn’t challenge Trump’s false claim.

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