Trump, allies hammer Wallace after tense debate
President Trump and his allies dunked on Chris Wallace after Tuesday night’s acrimonious presidential debate in Cleveland, accusing the Fox News host of acting as a second debater along with former Vice President Joe Biden.
The rebukes from Trump and his most loyal allies come after a stunning debate that featured repeated interruptions and personal invectives — which Wallace called out and tried to tame as the debate’s moderator, with little success.
“Chris had a tough night. Two on one was not surprising, but fun,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
Chris had a tough night. Two on one was not surprising, but fun. Many important points made, like throwing Bernie, AOC PLUS 3, and the rest, to the wolves! Radical Left is dumping Sleepy Joe. Zero Democrat enthusiasm, WEAK Leadership! https://t.co/BGbPVHau3M
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2020
“I think that moment for me underscored just how poor Chris Wallace did as a debate moderator,” added White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on MSNBC. “Chris Wallace functioned essentially as Joe Biden’s cut man and also as a second debater on the president.”
Wallace struggled to impose order on Tuesday night’s unruly 90-minute affair amid repeated clashes between Trump and Biden, growing visibly frustrated throughout the evening.
Trump repeatedly sought to interrupt Biden during his answers, leading Wallace to point out that both campaigns had agreed prior to the event to allow each candidate to provide two-minute answers uninterrupted.
“Mr. President, I’m the moderator of this debate and I’d like you to let me ask my questions,” Wallace said at one point.
“I guess I’m debating you, not him,” Trump fired back. “I’m not surprised.”
Wallace was forced to step in at one point in the debate to interrupt one of Trump’s diatribes against Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son.
“The country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak,” Wallace said. “I’m appealing to you to do that.”
“What about him?” Trump asked.
“Frankly, you’ve been doing more interrupting,” Wallace responded.
Trump’s allies accused Wallace of siding with Biden throughout the debate, saying the Fox News host was trying to bail out the former vice president when he was on the defensive.
“Hard to believe how biased & corrupt Chris Wallace was last night. Subtle but perfect partner for Biden. Every time @realDonaldTrump had Biden on ropes & about to self-destruct, Wallace either rudely interrupted Trump, or demanded topic be changed. Disgraceful. Moderator fixed it,” tweeted conservative radio host Wayne Allyn Root.
Hard to believe how biased & corrupt Chris Wallace was last night. Subtle but perfect partner for Biden. Every time @realDonaldTrump had Biden on ropes & about to self-destruct, Wallace either rudely interrupted Trump, or demanded topic be changed. Disgraceful. Moderator fixed it
— Wayne Allyn Root (@RealWayneRoot) September 30, 2020
“Chris Wallace interrupted Donald Trump 76 times last night. He only interrupted Joe Biden 15 times. Trump shouldn’t have to debate two opponents at once, but he did—and he STILL won,” added Charlie Kirk, a prominent Trump supporter and founder of Turning Point USA.
Chris Wallace interrupted Donald Trump 76 times last night.
He only interrupted Joe Biden 15 times.
Trump shouldn’t have to debate two opponents at once, but he did—and he STILL won.
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) September 30, 2020
The debate’s rancorous tone drew criticism from media figures who said it did little to help the country decide on the merits of each candidate, with CNN’s Jake Tapper calling the event “a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck.”
Others also lamented how Wallace appeared bulldozed at the debate, with MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace remarking, “President Trump acted as the abuser tonight, and Chris Wallace was among the abused.”
Still, several figures came to Wallace’s defense, noting there was little any moderator could do to control a debate in which the agreed-upon rules were so openly flouted.
“First, let me defend Chris Wallace. I mean, my God. The guy signed up to moderate a debate and he ended up trying to referee a knife fight,” said Fox News’s Geraldo Rivera.