In an interview with The New York Times the day after the debate, Fox News’ Chris Wallace opened up about how he felt things with him as the moderator, “I’m just sad with the way last night turned out.”
He also called the spectacle a “terrible missed opportunity” and said he “never dreamt that it would go off the tracks the way it did.”
Wallace said after reading some of the commentaries about his handling of the debate and noted that some said he should have gotten involved earlier to reel in the debate, “I guess I didn’t realize — and there was no way you could, hindsight being 20/20 — that this was going to be the president’s strategy, not just for the beginning of the debate but the entire debate.”
Wallace said he thought the debate was going well at the beginning — specifically Trump’s initial exchanges with Biden — but he said he grew worried that the debate would “go completely off the tracks” if he did not regain control, which he does not know if he actually accomplished.
“I’m a pro. I’ve never been through anything like this,” he added.
When asked if Trump was responsible for the debate chaos, Wallace said, “He certainly didn’t help.”
He added that he did not want to interject, at first, because his initial goal for moderating the debate was to be “as invisible as possible.”
Wallace was also asked about the suggestion that Trump’s microphone should have been cut-off when the president tried to interrupt Biden. But, Wallace said Trump probably would have been picked up on Biden’s microphone, and it would not have been effective.
Additionally, he noted it would run the risk of upsetting Trump’s base.
“Generally speaking, I did as well as I could, so I don’t have any second thoughts there,” Wallace said, adding, “I’m just disappointed with the results. For me, but much more importantly, I’m disappointed for the country, because it could have been a much more useful evening than it turned out to be.”
After the raucous event, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD announced that is “carefully considering” changes to future debates to add “additional structure,” as IJR reported.
However, the CPD did say it is “grateful to Chris Wallace for the professionalism and skill he brought to last night’s debate.”