That, however, was President Donald Trump’s exact plight Tuesday night at the first 2020 presidential debate, when he was treated to a two-on-one showdown with his actual opponent Joe Biden and his honorary rival, Fox News moderator Chris Wallace.
Wallace, a registered Democrat, failed to maintain any control over the debate. Even members of the left pointed out what a chaotic “disgrace” the whole ordeal was. But after a while, it was hard to pay attention to anything but Wallace’s Biden bias. Media moderators playing favorites with presidential contenders is nothing new, but Wallace’s persistent partisanship reached a new low.
From interrupting Trump but not Biden at nearly every turn, blocking the incumbent before he could correct mischaracterizations and flat-out lies from Biden, to full-throated arguments with the president despite lobbing soft-ball questions — or no questions at all — to the former vice president, Wallace’s presentation was appalling.
Wallace Did the Left’s Bidding
Who needs the leftist media swarming to fact-check Trump’s claims from this debate when you have Wallace to recycle long-debunked claims? “Vice President Biden, you say that President Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville three years ago, when he talked about ‘very fine people on both sides’ was what directly led you to launch this run for president,” Wallace said, framing his question as a Trump attack using a false leftist talking point to smear Trump as a white supremacist sympathizer.
During the same segment, Wallace employed more Democrat talking points in what proved to be one of the most egregious exchanges of the night. Earlier this month, the Trump administration rightly announced it would be prohibiting federal agencies from subjecting their employees to woke “critical race theory” and “white privilege” seminars. Although critical race theory is itself a racist and toxic framework of social study, which posits that white people are guilty oppressors based only on the color of their skin and therefore lends itself to extreme “remedies” (such as looting as reparations), Wallace framed it nicely as “racial sensitivity training.”
“This month, your administration directed federal agencies to end racial sensitivity training that addresses white privilege or critical race theory,” Wallace said, couching critical race theory with the unobjectionable “racial sensitivity” phrase. “Why did you decide to do that — to end racial sensitivity training?” Wallace doubled down on the term. The implication, of course, is that Trump himself is insensitive to racial issues.
“I ended it because it’s racist,” Trump replied, factually. “A lot of people were complaining that they were asked to do things that were absolutely insane, that it was a radical revolution that was taking place in our military, in our schools, all over the place.”
Trump’s statements were true, but the truth wasn’t good enough for Wallace, who asked like a genuine leftist, “What is radical about racial sensitivity training?”
Trump didn’t take the bait. “They were teaching people to hate our country, and I’m not going to do that,” Trump said. “I’m not going to allow that to happen.”
Chris Wallace calling critical race theory “racial sensitivity training” is totally ignorant of what’s being taught. It is racist and anti-American. Appalling.
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) September 30, 2020
Are you kidding me Chris Wallace? You ask with a straight face and an accusatory finger what’s wrong with federal teaching of the indoctrination of critical race theory? Shame on you, Chris.
— David Limbaugh (@DavidLimbaugh) September 30, 2020
Several times, Trump tried to talk about Biden’s scandalous family business dealings concerning his son Hunter, which presented a gross conflict of interest while Biden was in office during the Obama administration. After Biden repeatedly lied, saying it was “simply not true” that Hunter received $3.5 million from the wife of the ex-mayor of Moscow — in fact, a wire transfer and a Senate report revealed that’s exactly what happened — Wallace always deflected, closing out segments before Biden faced too much heat.
“We’ve already been through this,” Wallace interrupted. “I think the American people would rather hear about more substantial subjects. … I’d like to talk about climate change.”
“So would I,” Biden replied. That worked out well. Of course, Wallace then proceeded to debate Trump on climate change, touting Obama’s Clean Power Plan and using language seemingly intended to paint Trump as a science denier.
Chris Wallace, over the course of the night, has moved from moderator to debater.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 30, 2020
Wallace Failed Miserably
This is to say nothing of Wallace coaching Biden about what his policy plans contain, or of coming to Biden’s rescue when the former vice president couldn’t name one police group that supported him, or of asking Trump the same question over and over about his tax returns despite the president answering it, or of characterizing Biden’s “defund the police” position with the more palatable phrase “community control of policing.”
Wallace proved himself a hack over and over, and it was disgusting. How are the American people supposed to discern between the two candidates and their positions when a third party injects himself into the debate in such an improper way, shirking his duty of moderating in favor of carrying out his anti-Trump agenda?
Chris Wallace is making very clear that his goal tonight is to run interference for Joe Biden. If he wants to be a deranged NeverTrumper, that’s his prerogative, but Wallace is doing everything in his power to tilt the election toward his preferred candidate. Everyone can see it.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) September 30, 2020
Too early to call a debate winner, but the loser is Chris Wallace.
— Kylee Zempel (@kyleezempel) September 30, 2020
Biden: “I can’t keep track of all his ranting”
Wallace: *laughs* “I’m having trouble myself”
the mask is slipping, Chris #Debates2020
— Jessica O’Donnell (@heckyessica) September 30, 2020
Chris Wallace is actually coming off worse than either candidate.
— Jeremy Boreing (@JeremyDBoreing) September 30, 2020
There’s a super easy way to figure out if you completely failed in your only job as a debate moderator: if anyone is talking about you instead of the candidates, you failed.
Tonight, the number one thing people are talking about is how the debate moderation was awful. pic.twitter.com/WKMLBgdBUh
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) September 30, 2020
The American people don’t want to see a cultural elitist prevent the two 2020 fighters from engaging in a verbal brawl. They don’t want to see the candidates get shut down right before they’re about to get angry and show their most authentic colors. And they sure didn’t tune in to watch Wallace debate Trump.
“Well, first of all, I guess I’m debating you, not him,” Trump said to Wallace during one of their scuffles. Fact check: True.