Chris Wallace says it’s time for him to do some “soul-searching” after Tuesday’s presidential debate.
The “Fox News Sunday” host spoke with The New York Times after the election showdown in Cleveland for an after action review.
“I’ve read some of the reviews, I know people think, Well, gee, I didn’t jump in soon enough,” Mr. Wallace told the newspaper of the contentious sparring between President Trump and rival Joseph R. Biden. “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.”
Critics of Mr. Wallace’s moderation say he should have done a better job forcing the candidates to abide by the established rules regarding interruptions — those by the president in particular.
“I’m a pro. I’ve never been through anything like this,” He added. “You’re reluctant — as somebody who has said from the very beginning that I wanted to be as invisible as possible, and to enable them to talk — to rise to the point at which you begin to interject more and more,” Mr. Wallace said. “First to say, ‘Please don’t interrupt,’ then ‘Please obey the rules,’ and third, ‘This isn’t serving the country well.’ Those are all tough steps at real time, at that moment, on that stage.”
The journalist continued his reflection with the newspaper upon landing in Annapolis by saying, “I’ve been involved in a certain amount of soul-searching.”
“Generally speaking, I did as well as I could, so I don’t have any second thoughts there,” he concluded. “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.”
Early Nielsen Media Research ratings for the debate indicate 64.7 million viewers across eight channels watched Mr. Trump rhetorically duke it out with his opponent.