Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lambasted television journalist Matt Lauer in her book “What Happened” for what she deems unfair treatment during NBC’s Commander in Chief Forum in September 2016.
Clinton’s main gripe with Lauer stems from her pre-conception that the event would be as sounds and as Lauer promised: “an opportunity ‘to talk about national security and the complex global issues that face our nation.”‘
During the beginning of the forum, Lauer pressed Clinton for using the word “judgment” to describe the “most important characteristic” of a Commander in Chief.
She recalled Lauer saying:
“The word judgment has been used a lot around you, Secretary Clinton, over the last year and a half, and in particular concerning your use of your personal email and server to communicate while you were Secretary of State,” Lauer said. “You’ve said it’s a mistake. You said you made not the best choice. You were communicating on highly sensitive topics. Why wasn’t it more than a mistake? Why wasn’t it disqualifying, if you want to be Commander in Chief?”
Clinton recollects the moment in the memoir, calling it “disappointing but predictable.” She said she wasn’t surprised a “political reporter wanted his or her pound of flesh.”
“If Lauer intended to ask Trump tough questions, he had to make a show of grilling me, too,” she wrote.
The former secretary of state directed further criticism at Lauer, NBC and the event as a whole.
“Now I was ticked off. NBC knew exactly what it was doing here,” she wrote, after describing fielding a question from a former Republican Navy lieutenant about her emails. “The network was treating this like an episode of The Apprentice, in which Trump stars and ratings soar. Lauer had turned what should have been a serious discussion into a pointless ambush. What a waste of time.” (RELATED: NBC Donated $5.6 Million To Democratic Party, Provided First Debate’s Moderator)
Clinton admits that, knowing Lauer’s assertive style and choice of focus, she should have tried to pivot better. But she constantly stresses that the whole event was a farce since it was supposed to be about policy but never delved deeply into policy.
“Later, I watched Lauer soft-pedal Trump’s interview … Then he failed to call Trump out on his lies about Iraq. I was almost physically sick,” Clinton wrote.
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