Wallace, the moderator of Tuesday’s faceoff between Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, told The New York Times Wednesday that the president’s behavior “certainly didn’t help,” but he did not apportion blame.
But Wallace dove deeper in an interview Thursday with his Fox News colleague, Bill Hemmer. He said that initially, when Trump started engaging Biden, he thought, “We’re going to have a real debate here.” But it soon became clear to him that this was something different.
“The president was determined to try to butt in and throw Joe Biden off,” he said, citing a Fox analysis that indicated Trump interrupted him and Biden a total of 145 times.
He added that Biden was partly culpable but that Trump “bears the primary responsibility for what happened.”
Trump repeatedly lied, interrupted and talked over both Biden and Wallace throughout the 90-minute debacle. Biden told him to “shut up” and called him a “clown.”
Wallace also expressed deep frustration about the hundreds of hours of work preparing questions intended to provoke a serious, substantive exchange of views on key issues between the two candidates.
“I feel like I had gotten together all of the ingredients,” he said. “I had baked this beautiful, delicious cake, and then frankly, the president put his foot in it.”
He added: “It was frustrating for me because I tried hard to prepare for a serious debate, much more frustrating and more importantly for the American people because they didn’t get the debate they wanted that they deserved.”
Asked if he would go back and rewatch the debate, Wallace said, “Oh, God, no.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates vowed to make format changes for the remaining debates following Tuesday’s widely criticized event.
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place