Sep 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Chris Wallace struggles to control debate from Trump interruptions

Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Faced with constant interruptions and shouting from President Trump, moderator Chris Wallace failed to maintain control over the 2020 campaign's first general election presidential debate.

  • At one point, the back and forth between Trump and Wallace got so bad, that Wallace asked Trump, "You know, sir, if you wanna switch seats, we could do that."

Why it matters: The hectic nature of the first debate caused an instant debate over how the remaining debates could be conducted for the 2020 campaign.

Be smart: The longtime Fox News anchor is considered one of the best in the business, and he's respected by both political parties.

  • His failure to stop Trump from talking over both him and Joe Biden had political pundits debating Tuesday night whether future debates should allow moderators the ability to cut the candidates' mics.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer said it "will certainly raise a lot of questions about the future of the presidential debate between these two candidates."

  • "I wouldn't be surprised if this is the last presidential debate between the president and the former vice president."
  • "Clearly this debate was an embarrassment for the United States of America." 

CBS' Norah O'Donnell asked, "Can we really have two more of these debates, after what we saw tonight?"

The bottom line: Critics noted that Wallace failed to call out Trump for violating debate rules for more than an hour into the debate. Wallace tried, beginning early on in the debate, to stop the president's interruptions.

  • But his efforts ultimately proved moot, as Trump mostly dominated the debate with interjections.
Go deeper