President Trump hammered moderator Chris Wallace during the first presidential debate, suggesting he was actually debating Wallace rather than Joe Biden.
Tuesday night’s debate was a travesty by any measuring stick, with both candidates talking over each other frequently.
Wallace lost control of the format from the get-go, oftentimes, Trump felt, to the benefit of the Democrat nominee.
At one point, the Fox News anchor challenged the President on healthcare, stating that the President had “never” come up with “a comprehensive plan to replace Obamacare.”
Trump immediately objected countering that he “got rid of the individual mandate,” which he called “the worst part of Obamacare.”
Wallace responded, “Mr. President, I am the moderator of this debate and I would like you to let me ask my question.”
The moderator repeated the same question essentially, but accused Trump of signing “a largely symbolic executive order to protect people with preexisting conditions five days before this debate.”
“Well, first of all, I guess I’m debating you, not him,” Trump fired back.
“But that’s okay. I’m not surprised.”
Trump to Wallace: “First of all I guess I’m debating you not him”. pic.twitter.com/wrbOJrLXMP
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) September 30, 2020
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Did Chris Wallace Debate Trump Instead of Moderate?
There were several instances where it seemed like Wallace was more combative with President Trump than with Biden.
During one tense exchange, Biden said, “It’s hard to get any word in with this clown. Excuse me, this person.”
When Trump attempted to fire back Wallace shouted, “No, no, no! Mr. President! Mr. President!”
— ABC News (@ABC) September 30, 2020
In another exchange, President Trump hammered Biden by challenging him to name one law enforcement group that supports his candidacy.
Biden was unable to do so, fumbling over his next comment before Wallace chimed in.
Trump presses Biden to name a single law enforcement agency who supports him
Biden can’t name a single one and says he doesn’t have time to talk about it
Democrat Chris Wallace interrupts to stop the embarrassing moment for Biden pic.twitter.com/zYFrx2s0SS
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) September 30, 2020
As Trump was clearly the aggressor in the debate, it stands to reason Wallace may have interjected more often.
That said, there were a few curious moments.
Wallace presented the Charlottesville hoax almost as fact when he questioned Biden about running for President (emphasis mine).
“Vice-President Biden, you say that President Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville three years ago, when he talked about very fine people on both sides, was what directly led you to launch this run for president,” he stated.
Here is the video of Trump saying it: “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally”
Joe Biden denies that this happened pic.twitter.com/AejOrmskoe
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) August 8, 2019
And then there was this friendly banter between Biden and Wallace.
Biden: “The final question is, I can’t remember which of all his rantings it was …”
Wallace: “I’m having a little trouble myself, but… (laughs).”
.@JoeBiden: “I can’t remember which of all his rantings it was.”
Chris Wallace: “I’m having a little trouble myself.”
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) September 30, 2020
Colleagues, Critics Slam Chris Wallace’ Debate Performance
Wallace’s debate performance was ridiculed by critics and fans alike, with even some colleagues piling on.
Ned Ryun, CEO of American Majority tweeted, “I lost track last night of how many times Chris Wallace bailed out [Biden].”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2020
Fox News host Brian Kilmeade wanted to know why Biden is “allowed to interrupt” while Trump is not.
Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly took note of President Trump’s line that he was debating Wallace.
Good line from Trump—he tells Chris Wallace he’s debating him, not Joe.
— Bill O’Reilly (@BillOReilly) September 30, 2020
Attorney Harmeet Dhillon called the Fox News anchor a “disgrace.”
Chris Wallace is a disgrace. Republicans need to stop allowing the slanted media to have any role in debates in future years.
— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) September 30, 2020
Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, appeared with Fox News personality Sean Hannity after the debate and offered his thoughts on the moderator’s performance.
Don Jr. knocks Chris Wallace, telling @SeanHannity, “I understand he is a fox guy, but he’s no conservative. He’s no centrist either.”
Hannity doesn’t offer a word of defense for his colleague. pic.twitter.com/tNKgYOgJbl
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) September 30, 2020
“That’s sort of the nature of this game and I think that’s why my father has to play it that way.”
Hannity offered no defense of his Fox colleague.
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