By all accounts — including his own — Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace largely botched his duties as moderator of the first presidential debate, which devolved into a display of discourteous interruptions.
In comparison, the moderator of the second and final debate, NBC News’ Kristen Welker, received high praise from all sides for maintaining control of the event — and even a “jealous” and humiliated Chris Wallace weighed in with his thoughts, Mediaite reported.
“Hundreds of interruptions”
Wallace was part of a panel discussion during the network’s post-debate coverage and, likely due to his having moderated the first debate, and was the first of the panelists asked by co-hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum to share his reaction to what everyone had just watched.
“First of all, I’m jealous,” Wallace chuckled, according to Mediaite. “I would’ve liked to have been able to moderate that debate and get a real exchange of views instead of hundreds of interruptions.”
He added: “I thought it was a good debate. A good, substantive debate. Two competing visions for the country.”
Chris Wallace on moderation of tonight’s debate: “I’m jealous! I would have liked to have moderated that debate…” pic.twitter.com/OsVz5DnEoI
— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) October 23, 2020
Mediaite noted that Wallace suggested that the topics of discussion seemed to favor Democratic nominee Joe Biden over President Donald Trump and that Biden defended himself well against Trump’s attacks over his son’s dubious business dealings.
The Fox host went on, however, to praise Trump’s behavior and asserted that Biden began to “falter” toward the end of the debate.
Earning Trump’s respect
Another surprising source of praise for Welker was Trump himself, who had been critical of her ability to remain impartial prior to Thursday evening’s event.
The Hill reported that, midway through a back-and-forth discussion with Biden over healthcare, Trump took a moment to congratulate Welker on how she had been conducting the debate to that point.
“By the way, so far I respect very much the way you’re handling this, I have to say,” Trump said to Welker before shifting his attention back to his opponent on stage.
Aside from Wallace’s openly stated jealousy and President Trump’s surprising mid-debate compliment, TheBlaze reported that Welker was the recipient of praise from all across the political spectrum for the way she had effectively handled the event and maintained control of the candidates to keep them on topic and avoid a mess of unnecessary interruptions.