Fox News anchor Chris Wallace reiterated his regrets about the debate that President Trump hijacked with constant interruptions and interjections during an interview on his own network Thursday.
After saying that he initially thought “a real debate” was happening when Trump began engaging with Democratic rival Joe Biden during the debate, Wallace conceded that “it became clearer and clearer over time that this was something different” as the President attempted to steamroll the former VP 145 times throughout the night, citing a Fox News analysis.
Wallace then argued that Trump “bears the primary responsibility for what happened on Tuesday” — a shift from his interview with the New York Times the day before when he was bluntly asked whether the President was responsible for the debate going off the rails. Wallace told the Times “well, he certainly didn’t help,” but declined to elaborate further.
Fellow Fox News colleague Bill Hemmer went on to ask Wallace if he thought the debate was a mess in the moment or if he thought he had a chance of getting it back on track.
Wallace replied that his initial thought as moderator was that the President was interrupting too often. He pointed to his experience in having difficulty hearing two people talking simultaneously while hosting “Fox News Sunday.”
“So I kept trying to get the President to stop and let Biden finish his answer and let them go back and forth,” Wallace said. “And then it kept escalating.”
Wallace then hit back at Trump’s assertion that the debate moderator didn’t go after Biden enough for interruptions.
“The President said well, why don’t you admonish him, and I said because you’re doing a lot more of the interrupting, Mr. President,” Wallace said. “Biden was doing some, no question about it, but less than half as many times as the President.”
Asked if he believes that Trump had more volume, which caused him to hear less of Biden’s remarks, Wallace acknowledged that the President “talked louder, but he also talked more often.”
Wallace aired his frustration about how he and his researcher spent “literally hundreds of man-hours and woman-hours” trying to “prepare a serious substantive debate” on a wide range of issues, only for their “delicious cake” to come out half-baked.
“I was really hoping for the debate that I think America wanted to see, which was a serious exchange of views,” Wallace said. “I felt like I had gotten together all of the ingredients. I had baked this beautiful, delicious cake, and then frankly the President put his foot in it.”
Watch Wallace’s remarks below:
Fox News' Chris Wallace reflects on chaotic debate: Trump "bears the primary responsibility for what happened on Tuesday." pic.twitter.com/cTXlCHF2IU
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) October 1, 2020