Hillary Clinton threw a tantrum, and a water glass, after NBC's "Commander-in-Chief" Forum in September 2016.
Rumors holding that Hillary Clinton had a “meltdown,” threw a water glass at a staffer, and engaged in a curse-filled tirade following NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum with host Matt Lauer have been circulating since the Democratic presidential nominee participated in that forum, which aired on 7 September 2016. While these rumors did seem to be rooted in a little truth — the Clinton campaign was not happy with the questions Lauer asked (or didn’t ask) during the event — claims that Clinton threw a “hissy fit” over it were unfounded.
The website Victurus Libertas was the first to promulgate this rumor, publishing an article headlined “Temper! Temper! Hillary Goes on Rampage for Over An Hour — Throwing Glass at Staffer’s Head.” Although Victurus Libertas linked to credible reports from NY Mag and Yahoo! News detailing that Clinton’s campaign was miffed with Lauer for not fact-checking Republican candidate Donald Trump during the event, they cited Politico as their source for the claim that Clinton had thrown a water glass at a staffer:
And Politico‘s headlines read: “Liberals Lash Out at Lauer, NBC“. It seems to me, no one is “lashing out” but Hillary.
Hillary’s meltdown included throwing a water glass at a staffer — narrowly missing her head, and demanding Matt Lauer be fired! She was overheard threatening executives at NBC saying “If I lose, we all go down and that Fascist Fuck will have us swinging from nooses! What the fuck is wrong with you idiots?”
None of this information appeared in the cited Politico report, however.
Politico published an article headlined “Liberals Lash Out at Lauer, NBC,” reporting that Clinton’s campaign and supporters were upset with interviewer Lauer for posing “unbalanced questions”:
At an event that saw both Clinton and conservative challenger Donald Trump challenged on their stances toward national defense and foreign policy, liberal operatives and Clinton supporters took exception to what they perceived as unbalanced questions, criticizing Lauer for failing to push back on false statements by Trump and for spending a significant amount of time on Clinton’s email scandal.
But Politico did not report that Hillary Clinton threw a water glass at anyone’s head, threatened the firing of Matt Lauer, or called Donald Trump a “fascist fuck.” All of that was invented by Victurus Libertas in an apparent attempt to smear the Democratic candidate, and it served as the basis for a longer, highly embellished version of the rumor that began circulating via e-mail in October 2016:
Subject: Matt Lauer & Hillary what REALLY happened….
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AT THE NBC PRESIDENTIAL FORUM WITH MATT LAUER?
DEMOCRAT HILLARY CLINTON’S BEHIND THE SCENES TIRADE AFTER NBC’s MATT LAUER ASKED CLINTON ONE QUESTION SHE HAD NOT PRE-APPROVED.
VETERAN NBC CAMERAMAN: ‘YOU REALLY HAD TO SEE THIS TO BELIEVE IT … SHE CAME APART – LITERALLY UNGLUED; SHE IS THE MOST FOUL-MOUTHED WOMAN I’VE EVER HEARD … AND THAT VOICE AT SCREECH LEVEL … AWFUL!’
“SHE LOOKED SO ENRAGED THAT WE ALL THOUGHT HER HEAD WOULD EXPLODE … IT WAS A FULL-ON MELT-DOWN, AND THEN SHE SCREAMED SHE’D GET THAT F–––ING LAUER FIRED FOR THIS. IT WENT ON FOR AT LEAST A HALF HOUR; WE ALL THOUGHT THE EMS WOULD BE THE NEXT CALL.”
NBC Associate Producer of Forum:
Behind the scenes, NBC technicians and cameramen at the Wednesday night, Commander-in-Chief Forum (Sept 7) report that Hillary Clinton was so angry and incensed that she had been ‘blind-sided’ by one question she was not prepared for and had not approved in advance.
“When her time in front of the cameras ended, Clinton shook the hand Lauer extended to her and smiled once more for the wide camera shot and then Hillary proceeded to pick up a full glass of water and threw it at the face of her assistant and the screaming started. She was in a full meltdown and no one on her staff dared speak with her — she went kind of manic and didn’t have any control over herself at that point. How these people work with this woman is amazing to me. Most of the small military audience were cordoned off, their seating not close to Mrs. Clinton, but certainly they heard her screaming because it was loud … and she really didn’t seem to care who heard any of it.”
Republican Donald Trump also appeared, in a separate telecast from Hillary Clinton’s and arrived with his two sons but no entourage or assistants in tow. The NBC cameramen involved in his segment said he was a ‘true gentleman’ and Trump and his sons spoke to everyone and thanked them for inviting him to speak: “It was a pleasure to answer your questions Matt.”
Hillary Clinton’s segment was much different. According to people working on the sidelines, “When Matt posed the one legitimate question about the FBI investigation concerning her homemade server and the unsecured emails, we could see she was beginning to boil and her eyes looked to pop.”
“It was toward the end of her interview so she was becoming unglued by the time Lauer finished with questioning. Hillary went ballistic, throwing a huge tantrum and screaming at her staff, “you f–––ing idiots, you were supposed to have this thing set up for me and you’ve screwed it up! If that fucking bastard wins we all hang from nooses! Lauer’s finished … and if I lose it’s all on you ass—-s for screwing this up.”
Clinton finally stormed off the military ‘set’ and the assistant producer said she was screaming that she wanted to talk to “the idiot who set this mess up … you do not blindside me – ever!” and continued to demand to speak with executives at Comcast, parent company to NBC Universal.
Her dozen or more aides were visibly disturbed and tried to calm her down when she started shaking uncontrollably. That did not stop her from demanding an executive “on the phone, now!” She was told the executive-in-charge of the forum was ready to talk with her and she was led away by two rather large aides who appeared to help her walk.
The TV executives got the message with all of the censuring headlines that followed over the next couple of days when it seemed the entire media turned on Matt Lauer for behaving in a “partisan” manner and “being grossly unfair and critical of the former secretary of state.”
Matt Lauer was heavily criticized on air by the Clinton campaign the rest of the week with most of the mainstream media joining in. The media appeared to frame Matt’s one serious question as the Clinton campaign was doing…”an unfair and partisan attack on Mrs. Clinton.”
Matt Lauer is still facing major backlash following his 23 minutes with Hillary Clinton. Privately, many reporters said Matt handed the Democrat nominee the expected softball questions, but made the decision to ask about the emails because, “the American people deserve an answer from the former secretary of state.”
Calls were made to New York Times, Washington Post and Huffington Post and Twitter executives with orders to “Crush Matt Lauer”. As you can easily see with all the headlines from these MSM sources, they did as they were told by the Clinton campaign.
Hillary also screamed that she would be “treated with respect at the debates or heads will roll.” Staffers at the Clinton campaign report that they fear her wrath and uncontrollable outbursts, and one described Hillary as “an egotistical psychopath”.
Since Hillary does not allow any staff to have cell phones when she is in their presence, no footage is available, but Hillary will never let this rest. She has made it clear that she wants Matt Lauer to be “persona non grata – for putting her on the spot.”
Interim DNC chairman Donna Brazile, the first black woman to hold the position, was singled out by Hillary during the rant. She screamed at Donna, “I’m so sick of your face. You stare at the wall like a brain dead buffalo, while letting that f–––ing Lauer get away with this. What are you good for, really? Get the f––– to work janitoring this mess — do I make myself clear?”
A female NBC executive said that Donna Brazile looked at Mrs. Clinton and never flinched, which seemed to enrage Hillary all the more. The executive continued, “It was the most awful and terrible…and racist display — such a profane meltdown I have ever witnessed from anyone, and I will never forget it. That woman should never see the inside of the oval office I can tell you that. She was unhinged and just continued to verbally abuse everyone — she was out of control.”
The earliest iteration of that longer narrative we could uncover was posted to the message board of the web site MTStars, where it was presented without citations, source information, audio, video, or any other documentation that the described these events actually transpired. It should also be noted that no credible news outlets reported that Clinton went on a cursed-filled tirade after the Commander-in-Chief Forum, or that she threw a water glass at a staffer’s head.
Rumors that Clinton threw a “tantrum” after NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum started with a fictitious quote, and that narrative was later expanded with more fake quotes from other anonymous sources. Meanwhile, no actual evidence has surfaced to prove that any of these events actually transpired.
A Word to Our Loyal Readers
Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.
- David Mikkelson
- Doreen Marchionni
- David Emery
- Bond Huberman
- Jordan Liles
- Alex Kasprak
- Dan Evon
- Dan MacGuill
- Bethania Palma
- Liz Donaldson
- Vinny Green
- Ryan Miller
- Chris Reilly
- Chad Ort
- Elyssa Young
Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.
We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.
Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.