Fox News host Chris Wallace rightly placed a marker out for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden a week after the veteran journalist sat down for an hour-long, wide-ranging interview with President Donald Trump.
“In our interview last week with President Trump, he questioned whether his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, could handle a similar encounter,” Wallace said on his program “Fox News Sunday” over the weekend.
“This week, we asked the Biden campaign for an interview, and they said the former vice president was not available.”
“We’ll keep asking every week,” Wallace said.
Fox’s Chris Wallace: “In our interview last week with President Trump, he questioned whether his opponent Joe Biden could handle a similar encounter. Well, we asked the Biden campaign for an interview and they said the former VP was not available. We’ll keep asking every week.” pic.twitter.com/5BIbp6dQ02
— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) July 26, 2020
Wallace is no friend of Trump, so for the president to sit down for the grilling on a variety of subjects shows the kind of moxie and mental agility we want to see in our commander in chief.
The majority of Biden’s media appearances over the last several months have been set-piece speeches delivered from a teleprompter.
To the extent the former vice president has taken any questions, it has largely been on friendly outlets, with very limited time and scope.
Speaking with fellow Fox News anchor Bret Baier following his Trump interview last week, Wallace noted that Biden can’t hide forever.
“The fact is, the president is out there. He’s out there in this broiling heat with me for an hour, he took all the questions,” Wallace said.
“You can like his answers or dislike them but he had answers and Joe Biden hasn’t faced that kind of scrutiny, hasn’t faced that kind of exposure.”
“You’ve got to feel at some point he’s going to come out from the basement. … He’s gonna have to be more exposed and take questions just as tough as the ones I asked this president,” he added.
“He’s gonna have to do it with a bunch of people and, of course, he’s going to have those three debates with the president and you know that the president can handle himself in these debates. … I think there is an open question there: Can Joe Biden do the same?”
Jason Chaffetz, former chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a current Fox News contributor, wondered how Biden could possibly have what it takes to sit across from Russia’s Vladimir Putin or China’s Xi Jinping if he can’t sit down with Wallace for an hour.
If you can’t sit with Chris Wallace for an hour, like Trump did, how can you sit with China or Putin? Biden campaign declines ‘Fox News Sunday’ interview, 1 week after Chris Wallace’s Trump sitdownhttps://t.co/yRv5a6HZjP
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) July 27, 2020
During the presidential primary season, the Democrats ducked having their candidates appear in a debate hosted by Fox News anchors Wallace, Baier and Martha MacCallum — three of the straightest shooters in the business.
Now Biden won’t agree to a one-on-one with Wallace.
The former Delaware senator’s handlers are trying to run out the game clock until Election Day, a strategy that did not work particularly well for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
In the 1984 presidential election, then-President Ronald Reagan faced down some of the same questions the 77-year-old Biden is now getting about his age.
Former Vice President Walter Mondale’s supporters pushed the narrative that the 73-year-old Reagan was no longer up to the job.
The only way the incumbent could quell the media and the Democratic chorus was to go before the press and American people again and deliver a solid performance, including one of the most famous lines in the history of presidential debates.
Submitting President Reagan for best #Archives80s mic drop moment during the 1984 presidential debate, “I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” #ArchivesHashtagParty pic.twitter.com/aMZrK0Xgzr
— American History TV (@cspanhistory) August 8, 2018
“I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience,” Reagan said of the 56-year-old Mondale.
The question of the 40th president’s competence to continue was answered: He won in a 49-state landslide.
When the American people begin to really focus on this upcoming election, Biden will have to prove to a majority of them he has what it takes to be president and he is going to have to do it through debate performances or interviews with real journalists like Wallace.
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