NY Democrat slams CNN over debate: Network gave Trump ‘free rein to just lie’

Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-N.Y.) criticized CNN and its moderators for allowing former President Trump to make claims on air without fact checking during Thursday night’s debate with President Biden.

“He is blatantly mischaracterizing the disaster that was his presidency,” Goldman told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an interview Friday, highlighted by Mediaite. “And that got a lot of attention, it didn’t get a lot of pushback.”

Biden’s poor performance, including blank stares, lack of energy and stumbling over his words, largely overshadowed Trump’s responses during the debate. The event marked the first time the two candidates were face-to-face since 2020.

Two debates between the presumptive nominees were proposed by the Biden campaign and agreed to by the former president.

The first, held on Thursday, was moderated by CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash — and both candidates agreed to a set of rules beforehand, which included muting microphones when the other person was speaking. The final debate, hosted by ABC News, will take place in September post-party conventions.

Despite Democrats’ rising concerns and calls for the incumbent to resign following the shaky performance, Goldman encouraged Biden to show up to the second debate. He called Thursday an “off night,” and said he wants to see if the former president continues to lie.

“Let’s have another debate where actually the moderators will push back on Donald Trump’s lies,” Goldman told Cooper. “He intimidated your network, unfortunately, and there was no pushback.”

“He was given free rein to just lie as much as he wants and that’s not helpful to the American public either,” he continued.

The network has come under heavy criticism after Bash and Tapper did not offer real-time fact checking of false statements from both candidates. The moderators offered follow-up questions when a candidate did not use the entire allotted speaking time but did not reference the false claims.

Cooper told Goldman that it was the job of Biden to provide a counter and rebuttal to Trump but “clearly” he wasn’t able to do that Thursday.

“We will see, obviously, in another debate, if that will change,” Cooper said.

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