by Brandon Butler
Chris Wallace on moderating the first presidential debate 10/1/2020

Chris Wallace gave an interview to Michael M. Grynbaum and The New York Times on his attempts to moderate the first presidential debate:

But as the president gave no sign of backing off, Mr. Wallace said, he grew more alarmed. “If I didn’t try to seize control of the debate — which I don’t know that I ever really did — then it was going to just go completely off the tracks,” he said.

Asked what he was feeling when he called the debate to a temporary halt — instructing the candidates that “the country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions” — Mr. Wallace said, “The answer to that question is easy: Desperation.”

Asked directly if Mr. Trump had derailed the debate, Mr. Wallace replied, “Well, he certainly didn’t help.”

Care to elaborate? “No,” Mr. Wallace said. “To quote the president, ‘It is what it is.’”

My respect for Wallace dropped a bit when, after Trump refused to condemn white supremacists and instead gave them a new rallying cry, he simply moved on to the next question and let Trump’s remarks stand. Wallace says, “I didn’t have that advance warning” that Trump was going to try and derail the debates; To that I ask, what rock has Wallace been living under for the past four years? Wallace was clearly unable or unwilling to handle Trump’s tantrums, but I hope the next mods can and will do better.