Wallace says he's 'sad' about how the presidential debate he moderated turned out

The Fox News star was lauded for his performance moderating the 2016 presidential debate between candidates Trump and Clinton.

Updated: October 1, 2020 - 1:14pm

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Fox News’ Chris Wallace says he's “sad” about how the presidential debate he moderated Tuesday night turned out and that he never dreamt that it would “go off the tracks the way it did,” in a phone interview with The New York Times.

The 90-minute debate between President Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden began and ended with the candidates interpreting and talking over each other – at times with harsh words. 

Trump said Biden was not "smart.” Biden called Trump a “clown" and asked him to “shut up.”

Wallace, widely praised for his efforts moderating a 2016 presidential debate between Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, largely received low marks for his performance this time, particularly for allowing the debate to at times get out of hand.

“I’m just sad with the way last night turned out,” Wallace told The Times, in the first interview that the “Fox News Sunday” anchor gave after the debate. “I’ve read some of the reviews. I know people think, well, gee, I didn’t jump in soon enough.” 

Wallace seemed to put much of the blame on Trump.

“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,” he said in the interview.

He also called the debate a “terrible missed opportunity” and said, “I never dreamt that it would go off the tracks the way it did.”

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