Chris Wallace Under Fire For Failing To Effectively Control Trump During 1st Presidential Debate
Fox News host and debate moderator Chris Wallace struggled to maintain control over the dialogues between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday, during the first of three planned encounters between the two candidates.
Renowned journalist Carl Bernstein, who helped expose the Watergate scandal, criticized Wallace for not laying “down the rules.”
“Chris Wallace needs to shut [T]rump down and insist he follow rules,” Bernstein wrote, referring to Trump’s constant interrupting of Biden.
Chris Wallace needs to shut trump down and insist he follow rules…and , as moderator, enforce them…stop the debate for 60 secs and lay down the rules.
— Carl Bernstein (@carlbernstein) September 30, 2020
CNN’s Ana Navarro-Cardenas went after Wallace for losing control, noting that “he’s allowing Trump to behave like [a] schoolyard bully, completely disrespecting the millions of Americans who tuned-in hoping to see a debate of ideas, and a plan to move America forward.”
Oh my God.
Chris Wallace has totally lost control of this thing.
He’s allowing Trump to behave like schoolyard bully, completely disrespecting the millions of Americans who tuned-in hoping to see a debate of ideas, and a plan to move America forward.
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) September 30, 2020
“The country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions,” Wallace told Trump during the debate. “I’m appealing to you, sir, to do it.”
“And him, too?” the president asked of Biden.
“Well, frankly, you’ve been doing more interrupting,” Wallace replied.
Biden noted that “it’s hard to get a word in with this clown.”
Wallace spent much of the 90 minutes unsuccessfully attempting to keep Trump in line, at one point reminding him that he had agreed to the terms of the debate.
“Mr. President, please stop,” Wallace said. He later told Trump that “if you want to switch seats we can do it.”
“Your campaign agreed that both sides would get two-minute answers uninterrupted,” Wallace said. “Well, your side agreed to it. Why don’t you observe what your campaign agreed to do?”
“He never keeps his word,” Biden interjected.
Some, such as New York magazine’s Josh Barro, noted that the lack of control wasn’t necessarily Wallace’s fault.
People are hating on Chris Wallace but I think there was no way to moderate this debate effectively.
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) September 30, 2020
Actress Patricia Arquette weighed in on Twitter as well, echoing Barro’s comments.
“Chris Wallace tried to keep the debate professional but Trump has only become emboldened since being elected,” she wrote. “The rules don’t apply to him. He is a dictator. Try to control that.”
Chris Wallace tried to keep the debate professional but Trump has only become emboldened since being elected. The rules don’t apply to him. He is a dictator. Try to control that.
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) September 30, 2020
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) struck a different tone, praising Wallace for letting Trump “show us who he really is.”
I cannot understand folks who somehow think it was the job of Chris Wallace to suppress the President of the United States. I believe his job was to help reveal the truth. And Wallace did that far better by letting @realDonaldTrump show us who he really is.#Debates2020 https://t.co/nxGt1P8NZq
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 30, 2020
“I cannot understand folks who somehow think it was the job of Chris Wallace to suppress the President of the United States,” Lieu wrote. “I believe his job was to help reveal the truth.”