President Donald Trump turned his attention from 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday, hitting out at moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News for alleged over-involvement in the night’s debate.
The explosive interaction came as Wallace pressed Trump with regard to his proposed alternative to the Affordable Care Act signed into law by former Democratic President Barack Obama in 2010.
Trump repeatedly interrupted the moderator as the line of questioning was pursued, suggesting claims his administration and wider Republican coalition had no health care plan to enact if promises to repeal the legislation are kept.
“Mr. President, I’m the moderator of this debate and I’d like you to let me ask my question,” Wallace said.
“I guess I’m debating you, not him,” the president responded, before moving on to respond to the question at hand.
President Trump has a back and forth with Chris Wallace:
“First of all, I guess I’m debating you, not him” pic.twitter.com/DmMnjiT3Sh
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 30, 2020
According to Fox News, Wallace voiced hopes he might be as “invisible as possible” throughout the course of the debate in the days leading up to the event.
“I’m trying to get them to engage, to focus on the key issue to give people at home a sense of why they want to vote for one versus the other,” Wallace said.
“If I’ve done my job right, at the end of the night, people will say, ‘That was a great debate, who was the moderator?'”
Political figures and pundits on both sides of the aisle were quick to declare Wallace had failed to live up to that standard Tuesday night, even before that interaction.
“Chris Wallace is supposed to be invisible. He isn’t,” said Richard Grenell, former acting director of the United States National Intelligence for the Trump administration. “He’s off to a terrible start.”
Chris Wallace said pre debate:
“[M]y job is to be as invisible as possible. … [I]f I’ve done my job right, at the end of the night people will say: ‘That was a great debate — who was the moderator?'”
— Alayna Treene (@alaynatreene) September 30, 2020
Conservative talk radio host Mark Simone similarly suggested Wallace’s claims of invisibility had fast become the “biggest lie of the debate.”
Chris Wallace is supposed to be invisible. He isn’t.
He’s off to a terrible start. @FoxNewsSunday
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) September 30, 2020
— MARK SIMONE (@MarkSimoneNY) September 30, 2020
Chris Wallace failing at his job as a moderator. Just a mess. And we’re 13 mins in.
— Soledad O’Brien (@soledadobrien) September 30, 2020
Across the aisle, however, left-leaning CNN host Soledad O’Brien voiced concern that Wallace was struggling to get a handle on the candidates and protect the structure of the debate, regardless of widespread opinions he had been too involved in the debate.
“Chris Wallace failing at his job as a moderator. Just a mess. And we’re 13 mins in.”
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