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Moderator Wallace: Trump 'Put His Foot' in My 'Beautiful, Delicious Cake'



Speaking out after the disastrous presidential debate Tuesday night, moderator Chris Wallace appeared on Thursday’s Bill Hemmer Report to discuss “what happened.” The interview came off as a sort of airing of grievances as Wallace blamed President Trump for the raucous nature of the debate, and complained that Trump “put his foot” in the “beautiful, delicious cake” Wallace and his researcher put together.

Describing how the debate began its tailspin, Wallace recounted how he was, at first, excited by Trump engaging with Democratic nominee Joe Biden. “‘This is great,’ because, so often, these debates become parallel news conferences, where one candidate answers the question to him, the other candidate answers the question to him,” he said. “So, when the President started engaging with Biden, I thought, ‘we’re going to have a real debate here.’”

Wallace cited a Fox News report that found Trump had interrupted either Biden or Wallace 145 time, “which is way more than one a minute.” He then declared that Trump “bears the primary responsibility for what happened on Tuesday night.”

After Hemmer asked if his guest just felt that Trump had more volume than Biden and thus it only seemed like Trump was worse, Wallace expressed his “frustration” with Trump and equated what happened with the President putting “his foot” into the “beautiful, delicious cake” he had made:

 

 

The frustration here, Bill, is this, that here was my debate book. And, literally, hundreds of man hours and woman hours between me and my researcher went into try to prepare a serious, substantive debate. And on so many issues, Biden’s tax-and-spending plans, Trump’s climate and environmental policies, I was really hoping for the — for the debate that I think America wanted to see, which was a serious exchange of views.

And 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. And that was frustrating, because — 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 and that they deserved,” he added.

A short time later, Hemmer brought up how the President “felt like he was debating you and Joe Biden” and “others have suggested that Joe Biden didn’t answer a lot of the questions that are in that notebook right there about the filibuster and the Supreme Court. “

Wallace responded with a critique and some advice for the President’s strategy. “I think the President made a mistake, because, so often, he would butt in and prevent Joe Biden from answering or not answering. I think he would have been well-advised — and not that he needs my advice — in the next two debates, let Biden answer. Then you can pick it apart,” he said.

Towards the end of the interview, Wallace came out against the idea that future debate moderators would have the ability to mute the candidates. Saying: “Boy, I don’t want to be in the position of saying, you know, I’m going to interpose myself between the President and the public and say, you can’t hear what he has to say now.”

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer Report
October 1, 2020
3:33:35 p.m. Eastern

(…)

CHRIS WALLACE: Here’s what — here’s what happened. We began the first segment on the Supreme Court. They each got their two minutes, and they both obeyed in that particular case. 

Then Biden started to answer a question. And the President started interrupting him. And my initial reaction was, “this is great,” because, so often, these debates become parallel news conferences, where one candidate answers the question to him, the other candidate answers the question to him. So, when the President started engaging with Biden, I thought, “we’re going to have a real debate here.”

It became clearer and clearer over time that this was something different, and that the President was determined to try to butt in and throw Joe Biden off. 

You gave your statistics. I saw another Fox analysis that indicates the President interrupted either Biden’s answers or my questions a total of 145 times, which is way more than one a minute. And he bears the primary responsibility for what happened on Tuesday night.

(…)

BILL HEMMER:  Was it your view that the President had more volume, and you heard that more than perhaps Joe Biden? 

WALLACE:  He certainly talked louder, but he also talked more often. I mean, as I say, the Fox News analysis, 145 times.  

The frustration here, Bill, is this, that here was my debate book. And, literally, hundreds of man hours and woman hours between me and my researcher went into try to prepare a serious, substantive debate. And on so many issues, Biden’s tax-and-spending plans, Trump’s climate and environmental policies, I was really hoping for the — for the debate that I think America wanted to see, which was a serious exchange of views.  

And 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. And that was frustrating, because — 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 and that they deserved. And I think that’s a loss for the country, because… 

HEMMER:  OK. I got to… 

WALLACE:  … they didn’t get to hear these two guys nearly as much as I think they should have. 

HEMMER:  I don’t mean to interrupt you, but I have just got a few more here.  

WALLACE:  Well, there you go. You see, it’s another interruption.  

[Laughter]

(…)

HEMMER: You know, the President said at one point, it’s two on one. He felt like he was debating you and Joe Biden. Others have suggested that Joe Biden didn’t answer a lot of the questions that are in that notebook right there about the filibuster and the Supreme Court.  Have you gone back to look at Tuesday night?

WALLACE:  Well, he answered — he answered the question. But, as I say, I think the President made a mistake, because, so often, he would butt in and prevent Joe Biden from answering or not answering. I think he would have been well-advised — and not that he needs my advice — in the next two debates, let Biden answer. Then you can pick it apart.

HEMMER:  I don’t disagree with that. I compared — the analogy I drew was, Joe Biden was about to dive off a diving board into the pool, and the president pulled him back and kept him on dry land.

(…)



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