Lester Holt, anchor of "NBC Nightly News," was roundly criticized for the bias he showed against Trump when moderating the first presidential debate on September 26, never once bringing up Benghazi, Hillary's email scandals or the Clinton Foundation, in spite of topics focusing on national security and terrorism. But next to Elaine Quijano's performance in Tuesday night's vice presidential debate, Holt is the picture of restrained, judicious impartiality.
Quijano challenged Pence to defend Trump's positions no fewer than six times, while lobbing one softball question on the "intelligence surge" to Kaine (which he answered to her satisfaction). Kaine was allowed freely to interrupt Pence, whereas Quijano was far stricter on Pence when he wanted to respond. But the most egregious moment came when Quijano attempted to protect Hillary Clinton from valid criticism.
When Pence raised the specter of Clinton's emails — a scandal of such national proportions that a congressional Oversight Committee has subpoenaed the FBI's director as well as multiple IT techs to testify over the techs' destruction of evidence — Quijano immediately cut him off, speaking over him and changing the subject. The exact exchange follows:
Pence: It has been a platform for the Clintons to travel the world, to have staff. But honestly, Senator, we would know a lot more about it if Hillary Clinton would just turn over the 33,000 e-mails —
Quijano: All right, let's turn back to North Korea.
Pence: … that she refused to turn over in her private server…
Quijano: Senator Kaine.
Pence: … and we'd have a much better picture of what the Clinton Foundation was about.
Quijano: Senator Kaine, if you had intelligence that North Korea was about to launch a missile, a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the United States, would you take pre-emptive action?
Such blatant shielding of the Democratic presidential nominee from criticism is inexcusable. There was no similar shielding of Trump when Kaine raised the issue of Trump's taxes, or when he misquoted him or took his words out of context. Demonstrations of bias like this are why most Americans — conservatives and liberals alike — no longer trust the media.
Quijano: Governor Pence, let me ask you, you have said Donald Trump is "thoughtful, compassionate, and steady." Yet 67 percent of voters feel he is a risky choice, and 65 percent feel he does not have the right kind of temperament to be president. Why do so many Americans think Mr. Trump is simply too erratic?
To her credit, she also asked Kaine to address Americans' distrust of Hillary and, unlike Lester Holt, raised the matter of the Clinton Foundation. But after that first hard question, she went on to focus her guns on Pence during the rest of the debate.
One major challenge from Quijano involved asking Pence to defend Trump's seeming dismissal of institutional bias among law enforcement. The question could've been written by Tim Kaine.
Quijano: Your fellow Republican, Governor Pence, Senator Tim Scott, who is African-American, recently spoke on the Senate floor. He said he was stopped seven times by law enforcement in one year.
He said, "I have felt the anger, the frustration, the sadness, and the humiliation that comes with feeling like you're being targeted for nothing more than being just yourself." What would you say to Senator Scott about his experiences?
Yet another challenge to Pence from Quijano asked him to justify Trump's stance on immigration reform.
Quijano: All right. I want to turn to our next segment now, immigration. Your running mates have both said that undocumented immigrants who have committed violent crimes should be deported. What would you tell the millions of undocumented immigrants who have not committed violent crimes? Governor Pence?
A follow-up question further asks Pence to defend Trump. The exchange begins with Pence, who is explaining the need for the American government to secure its borders.
Pence: Ronald Reagan said a nation without borders is not a nation. Donald Trump is committed to restoring the borders of this nation and securing our nation, enforcing our laws.
Quijano: So, Governor, how would these millions of undocumented immigrants leave? Would they be forcibly removed?
In another segment, Quijano expresses skepticism with regard to Trump's foreign policy.
Pence: What we're dealing with is the — you know, there’s an old proverb that says the Russian bear never dies, it just hibernates. And the truth of the matter is, the weak and feckless foreign policy of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has awakened an aggression in Russia that first appeared a few years ago with their move in Georgia, now their move into Crimea, now their move into the wider Middle East.
And all the while, all we do is fold our arms and say we're not having talks anymore. To answer your question, we just need American strength. We need to — we need to marshal the resources of our allies in the region, and in the immediate, we need to act and act now to get people out of harm's way.
Quijano: And exactly how would those safe zones work? How would they remain safe?
Finally, Quijano questions how Trump, who is against nuclear disarmament, would protect the nation against North Korea.
Quijano: All right, I'd like to ask now about North Korea, Iran and the threat of nuclear weapons. North Korea recently conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test. What specific steps would you take to prevent North Korea from developing a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the United States? Governor Pence?
As ChurchMilitant.com has noted before, the stakes are incredibly high in this election, because a Hillary presidency would portend ramped-up persecution for Catholics. Trump, though no saint in his personal life, has surrounded himself with a group of orthodox Catholic advisors influential in helping him craft his campaign, and — if he makes it to the Oval Office — will help him shape policy friendly to Catholics and the Church. Just the opposite can be expected under a Clinton presidency — and it seems what Fr. John Hardon called the "luciferian media" has no qualms about doing all in its power to secure their favorite in office.
Watch the panel break it all down in "The Download—VP Debate Analysis."