Chris Wallace Defends Biden, Blames Trump for Debate Chaos
Democratic presidential debate moderator speaks out over backlash
Fox News host Chris Wallace has spoken out in response to the backlash over the presidential debate he moderated on Tuesday, arguing that President Donald Trump was to blame for the chaos.
Wallace, a registered Democrat, spoke in defense of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, insisting that Trump was responsible for the way it panned out.
The veteran reporter responded to criticism Thursday over his moderating of the chaotic first debate between Trump and Biden, claiming that the president ruined his plans for a "substantive" discussion.
Speaking during an interview on Fox News's "Bill Hemmer Reports," Wallace said he initially thought the night started off well after Trump and Biden each answered their first questions.
From that point, however, things went off the rails.
"It became clearer and clearer over time that this was something different and that the president was determined to try to butt in, and throw Joe Biden off," Wallace said, before citing an analysis "that indicates the president interrupted either Biden's answers or my questions a total of 145 times."
“Here’s what happened: We began the first segment on the Supreme Court,” Wallace told Hemmer.
"They each got their 2 minutes and they both obeyed in that particular case.
"And then Biden started to answer a question and the president started interrupting him.
"My initial reaction was, this is great because so often these debates become parallel news conferences where one candidate answers the question to him, the other candidate answers the question to him.
"So, when the president started engaging with Biden, I thought we are going to have a real debate here.”
“It became clearer and clearer over time that this was something different and that the president was determined to try to but in and throw Joe Biden off,” Wallace said.
"[Trump] bears the primary responsibility for what happened on Tuesday,” he later added.
In this interview Chris Wallace claimed the President was the first to interrupt. That is definitively false, just like his comments about Critical Race Theory and about Kenosha. https://t.co/8omibbEMzR pic.twitter.com/DaKEpNItjI— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) October 1, 2020
Wallace said that his frustration was that he spent a lot of time preparing for the debate, saying he “had baked this beautiful, delicious cake and then frankly the president put his foot in it.”
Wallace was widely criticized across the political spectrum over how he handled the debate, including from his own colleagues, and many who accused him of showing political bias during the debate, according to The Daily Wire.
When asked about the criticism that he has received over how he handled the debate, Wallace responded by claiming that he has “gotten a lot of praise” in addition to the criticism.
Wallace added that he thought that Trump would have performed better if he had not interrupted Biden as much as he did.
Hemmer pointed out that Biden did not answer a lot of the questions that Wallace prepared, including whether he supported either ending the filibuster or packing the court.
Wallace claimed that Biden answered the question, yet a transcript from the debate appears to show that Biden did not answer the question.
“Whatever position I take on that, that’ll become the issue,” Biden responded, later adding, “I’m not going to answer the question.”
Joe Biden does not answer question about whether he supports packing the Supreme Court or ending the filibuster: "Whatever position I take on that, that will become the issue. The issue is, the American people should speak. You should go out and vote." pic.twitter.com/aRcwJANAk9— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) September 30, 2020
Wallace did receive praise from Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace over his “professionalism, skill, and fortitude” during the debate.
Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace congratulate presidential debate moderator Chris Wallace for “professionalism, skill and fortitude” during last night’s debate between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Full memo below: pic.twitter.com/NXbEIAfLfA— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) September 30, 2020
“We’d like to take a moment to thank and congratulate Chris Wallace for moderating last night’s extraordinary debate,” the two said in a statement.
“We are extremely proud of his professionalism, skill, and fortitude in a unique situation while doing everything possible to hold both candidates accountable.
"No moderator could have managed a debate of that magnitude better than Chris.”