By Ben Kamisar:The Hill
Donald Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani floated the prospect of Trump not participating in further general election debates, after what he believes was inappropriate meddling Monday by moderator Lester Holt.
“If I were Donald Trump, I wouldn’t participate in another debate unless I was promised the journalist would act like a journalist, and not an ignorant fact check,” Giuliani said late Monday night in the post-debate spin room, according to video provided by Bloomberg.
“My advice would be the moderator would have to promise they’d be a moderator.”
When asked whether he planned to share his perspective with Trump, the former New York City mayor said he would keep private conversations private.
Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said repeatedly after Monday night’s debate that the GOP nominee would participate in the final two debates.
But although Trump praised Holt immediately after the debate, Giuliani gave a scathing review of the moderator, claiming his “interference” in a discussion about policing in New York was “outrageous.”
“If journalism has ethics, Lester Holt unethically interfering in the area of law he knows nothing about,” Giuliani said.
“It is not unconstitutional and Trump’s description of that case was correct.”
The argument in question came after Holt claimed “stop and frisk,” a controversial program Giuliani approved as mayor of New York in which police search people they stop for questioning, “was ruled unconstitutional in New York” for its impact on minorities.
That practice has been criticized as disproportionately targeting minorities. A circuit court judge ruled the practice unconstitutional, but a higher court never settled the question.
Current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stopped the program.
Giuliani said that Holt’s interruption of Trump reminded him of 2012 moderator Candy Crowley’s decision to step in to correct Mitt Romney.
“He’s five times Candy Crowley,” he added.