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Prior to the first presidential debate on Tuesday night, Fox News' Chris Wallace, the moderator of the night, said (opens in new tab) he wants to be "as invisible as possible." At times, he certainly followed through on that promise. Wallace allowed President Trump to diverge from the topics at hand, and watched as Joe Biden and Trump talked over each other within the first 10 minutes of the 90-minute debate. Other times, Wallace began directly debating with Trump and the right criticized him of taking Biden's side.
The unanimous opinion from the left and the right? People were incredibly frustrated with Wallace's performance as debate moderator, left with only one word to describe the night: chaotic. See the reactions to Wallace's debate moderation from across the political spectrum, below.
Chris Wallace had a NIGHT pic.twitter.com/pPL7ojqeVsSeptember 30, 2020
#ChrisWallace, this is a disgrace. A moderator enforces the rules. That’s the point of having a moderator.September 30, 2020
I turned it off after “Proud Boys stand by.” Chris Wallace is a joke, and Joe Biden needs to fire his debate prep opponent. At this point, I’m just trying to take any sort of solace in the fact that there are relatively few undecided voters at this stage? I guess?September 30, 2020
Hellllo Chris Wallace??? Looking for a moderator here. Jesus Christ what a fricken mess.September 30, 2020
Chris Wallace acting like he's genuinely surprised that *Donald Trump* would break the rules?September 30, 2020
Can somebody tell me why Chris Wallace just let Trump off the hook over condemning the white supremacists when he told the Proud Boys to stand by? #Debates2020September 30, 2020
The only time Chris Wallace asserted himself was to attempt to hold a man who was not in office responsible for the federal response to riots in Portland.September 30, 2020
chris wallace spent the start of the debate bashing biden for kamala saying trump would muzzle scientists on coronavirus ..... and is now asking trump for his personal takes on the science of climate changeSeptember 30, 2020
Not since @Schwarzenegger starred in Kindergarten Cop have the American people seen someone lose control of the circus more epically than Chris Wallace. He should have turned the microphone offSeptember 30, 2020
Chris Wallace has completely given up.I had moderately middling hopes.#Debates2020September 30, 2020
It would have been nice to have a moderator for this debate tonight.September 30, 2020
Disgraceful. Chris Wallace. My God.September 30, 2020
Chris Wallace couldn't moderate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.September 30, 2020
So Chris Wallace asks Trump about the science of climate change, but does NOT ask Biden about the science of what a human life begins.September 30, 2020
Trump physically can’t stand still or stop talking when the truth is being told about himself. He just keeps launching himself into the middle of Biden’s answers and running right over Chris Wallace’s questions.September 30, 2020
Chris Wallace is the most irritating person on this broadcast, which is saying something.September 30, 2020
If I were Chris Wallace I would leave.September 30, 2020
No one is laughing ChrisSeptember 30, 2020
The loser of this debate: Chris WallaceSeptember 30, 2020
Where is the moderator — where is the moderator. Where is the moderatorSeptember 30, 2020
Bottom line:Chris Wallace lost control. And Trump was out of control. He showed why he cannot be trusted with the nation’s highest office—or even the lowest. #debatesSeptember 30, 2020
Expectations of Trump are so low that so are the standards by which he is held accountable. Chris Wallace gave him far too much deference and unchecked power to disregard the rules. Trump should have been disqualified from the debate.September 30, 2020
Chris Wallace's debate performance tonight is a great reminder that kindergarten teachers are underpaid. #Debates2020September 30, 2020
Don't just condemn Chris Wallace's performance because he was never in control. His questions were ill-structured. He didn't follow-up. And he did not ask the big questions that needed asking--on taxes, on COVID, on Russia, on climate, on every issue.September 30, 2020
Chris Wallace now feels the pain of women in meetings.September 30, 2020
Never seen a debate where the moderator has to say to a president, “ hold on mr. President you’re going really like this question “ as a way to regain control.September 30, 2020
I thought this debate was going to have a moderatorSeptember 30, 2020
Hear me out: They should have a moderator at this debateSeptember 30, 2020
Chris Wallace before and after the debate: pic.twitter.com/ybkyy8f29CSeptember 30, 2020
Rachel Epstein is an editor at Marie Claire, where she writes and edits culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also manages the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game, finding a new coffee shop, or analyzing your cousin's birth chart—in no particular order.
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