Trump Falsely Accuses NBC’s Lester Holt Of Getting ‘Caught Fudging’ Russia Interview
President Donald Trump has accused NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt of “fudging” an interview that NBC aired more than a year ago. “When Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia,” Trump said in a tweet early Thursday morning, providing no evidence to support his claim, “(NBC News was) hurt badly!”
Trump seems to be referring to a May 2017 interview, aired just two days after the president fired FBI director James Comey. In the interview, Trump called Comey “a showboat,” and appeared to reject an official White House explanation for the firing, telling Holt “the Russia thing” was on his mind when he decided to fire Comey. “I just said to myself, I said, ‘you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.'”
The interview was sensational enough at the time to be mocked by NBC’s Saturday Night Live, in which Holt, played by Michael Che, thinks he has finally caught the president, only to discover that nothing Trump says matters. “Wait, did I get him? Is this all over? No, I didn’t? Nothing matters? Absolutely nothing matters anymore.”
The real interview aired on Nightly News, and NBC News published an extended version online. Trump offered no explanation of how NBC might have “fudged” the interview, in which the most explosive words came from the president’s own mouth. From the time the interview aired until today, no one has accused Holt of altering the interview–and he was never “caught” or “hurt badly” as a result.
Trump’s attack on NBC came amid a Twitter rant about the media, including personal attacks on the bosses at NBC News and CNN. Trump, who has repeatedly–and falsely–claimed that CNN chief Jeff Zucker was about to be fired, on Tuesday urged AT&T to dismiss Zucker, who recently extended his contract with the network. Trump said, “Little Jeff Z has done a terrible job, his ratings suck, and AT&T should fire him to save credibility!”
Trump is also wrong about CNN’s ratings. Details released this week by Nielsen show the network had near record ratings in August and posted its second-best ratings in total day in the history of cable news’ original network. Daytime ratings were the third highest for CNN in 23 years, and all of CNN’s prime-time shows posted near-record high ratings, with Cuomo Prime Time, which just launched in June, delivering the network’s third highest August rating on record in the 9 p.m. hour.
And yet, Trump said, “the hatred and extreme bias of me by CNN has clouded their thinking and made them unable to function.” The president said the problem extended to other networks, with “NBC News being the worst. The good news is that Andy Lack(y) is about to be fired(?) for incompetence and much worse.”
Again, Trump neither explained his wild allegations nor defended his false claims, insisting only that “I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their hatred and agenda.”
Here is the interview in full.