Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said on Friday that he sees no issue with the Commission on Presidential Debates making the second debate virtual in light of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis, saying the president’s own behavior brings up “serious questions.”
Early on Thursday morning, the CPD announced that due to concerns over the president’s ongoing battle with COVID-19, they would have the candidates debate from remote locations rather than in-person. A furious Trump, meanwhile, immediately pulled out of the virtual debate, saying he was “not going to waste my time” with it.
During an appearance on America’s Newsroom, Wallace first addressed the growing controversy surrounding C-SPAN anchor and second debate moderator Steve Scully’s tweet to former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, which has been seen as proof of Scully’s anti-Trump bias. The CPD has since claimed Scully’s account was hacked.
“Steve Scully has been an honest, fair reporter,” Wallace noted, standing up for the well-respected journalist. “I have to say, I was somewhat concerned when I heard about this tweet exchange with Scaramucci, but apparently it never happened.”
Wallace also reported that the commission told him that “nobody,” including cameramen and staff, wanted to be in the same room with the president at next week’s debate due to the risk of contagion. Furthermore, he noted they were having difficulty finding undecided voters to appear at the town hall format because of fear of getting the virus from Trump, thus the need to move to a virtual format.
“Is it odd, do you find, Chris, the debate commission would change the entire debate because some people didn’t want to be in the room with the president when they know full well that the president would never be allowed at this debate if he could not prove that he tested negative at least twice, to let them sway the decision to where the debate would be held, the format, etc.?” co-anchor Trace Gallagher wondered aloud. “Do you find that odd?”
“No, because I think there are serious questions as to how the president behaved in the first debate,” Wallace replied. “The White House has refused to say the last time that the president tested negative before he went to the debate. And so I think there is some concern.”
The Fox News Sunday moderator pointed out that due to the White House refusing to disclose when the president last tested negative for the virus, it is very possible and even likely that Trump was infected when he participated in last week’s debate.
“So there is a lot of question, I can tell you, on the part of the presidential debate about whether or not they’ve been getting the straight scoop all along from this White House about the health of the president and the health of the first lady,” Wallace noted. “Of course we also had that rather remarkable scene where at the debate although the rules, Trace, were absolutely set, nobody except for the president, Vice President Biden, and I, nobody was supposed to be without a mask.”
“The entire presidential first family, after coming in with masks, took off the masks against the rules of the commission, and even when a member of the Cleveland Clinic came and offered to give them masks, they waved them away,” he concluded.