President Donald Trump and Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden squared off in Cleveland Tuesday night during the first of three scheduled presidential debates. But while the two candidates were happy to spar with one another, it seems moderator Chris Wallace took the brunt of the beating.
According to the Washington Examiner, Trump humiliated Wallace in a heated exchange that came after the Fox News host repeatedly interrupted the president in his face-off with Biden.
Trump takes on Wallace
According to the Examiner, Trump’s swipe at Wallace came during a discussion about health care.
“You have promised to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Wallace began. “But,” he continued, “you have never in these four years come up with a comprehensive plan to replace Obamacare—”
Trump took issue with Wallace’s claim. “Of course I have,” he interjected. “We got rid of the individual mandate,” he noted, referring to a provision of the Affordable Care Act that required people to either buy health insurance or face a tax penalty. It was eliminated as part of a Republican tax bill passed during Trump’s first year in office.
“We eliminated an especially cruel tax that fell mostly on Americans making less than $50,000 a year — forcing them to pay tremendous penalties simply because they could not afford government-ordered health plans,” Trump had said at the time, according to Fox News. “We repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare — the individual mandate is now gone.”
“I’m debating you, not him”
During Tuesday’s debate, Wallace also dismissed an executive order that the president signed last week on pre-existing conditions as being merely “symbolic,” a characterization that Trump similarly objected to.
“There’s nothing symbolic,” he retorted before highlighting efforts he has made to bring down the prices of prescription drugs, as the Washington Examiner reported.
“I guess I’m debating you, not him, but that’s OK,” the president complained to Wallace at one point during their argument. “I’m not surprised.” Take a look at a clip of the exchange, courtesy of the Washington Examiner:
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) September 30, 2020
“Who was the moderator?”
Wallace’s performance appeared to conflict with how he expected the debate to unfold; as the Examiner noted, the Fox News host had said ahead of the match-up that he intended to remain as “invisible as possible.”
“I’m trying to get them to engage…to focus on the key issues…to give people at home a sense of why they want to vote for one versus the other,” Wallace claimed, according to Fox. “If I’ve done my job right, at the end of the night, people will say, ‘That was a great debate, who was the moderator?’”