Chris Wallace has long been one of the few independent voices over at Fox News, somehow not being fired despite doing things like not lobbing softball questions at Donald J. Trump. He wasn’t even going to let the former president’s impeachment trial lawyers off the hook. On Friday, attorneys David Schoen and Bruce Castor — whose first day was a bit on the disastrous side — made their cases for how their client shouldn’t be held liable for the failed MAGA coup of January 6, 2021. But Wallace wasn’t having it.
What was their main argument? That the Democrats said equally bad things. Schoen spent two hours laying out his case, which involved not one but two lengthy video montages that simply showing Democrats saying the word “fight,” trying to draw a comparison with Trump, on January 6, telling his supporters to fight the certification of the 2020 election right before a number of them stormed the Capitol. Thing was, none of the times Democrats used the word did it lead to an attempted insurrection or any other form of violence.
Chris Wallace at @FoxNews crushes Trump defense presentation. @CuomoPrimeTime @AriMelber @TheBeatWithAri @thereidout @allinwithchris @NicolleDWallace @JohnJHarwood @briantylercohen pic.twitter.com/rg9glDggUs
— Kent Bernard (@kentbernard64) February 12, 2021
“Honestly, I think it’s a silly argument,” Wallace said on Fox News. “Using the word in different contexts means different things. One of the constitutional statements about freedom of the first amendment in freedom of speech is crying ‘fire’ in a crowded theater, and that that’s not protected, because that would be incitement to a mob. If you ran 100 clips of people saying the word ‘fire,’ it doesn’t have the same meaning. Obviously, Elizabeth Warren at a campaign rally saying ‘fire’ or Dennis McDonough saying he was going to fight for veterans’ rights as the new VA Chief is not the same as what Donald Trump is doing. I thought it was ludicrous.”
There was another point Wallace brought up:
“I also thought it was counterproductive, because basically you were insulting half the jury. Yes, they’re the Democrats who are going to vote against you anyway, but I don’t know that it was particularly effective. I felt the same, incidentally, about the clips of Jamie Raskin and other people contesting the election. Yes, they got up on the House floor — as they’re allowed to do — and that they were contesting the vote in a certain state. But there’s no comparison to that and this campaign Donald Trump ran for six months, talking about the election — the only way he could lose was if it was stolen, that the election was rigged, then continuing to fight it from November 3 on.”
Wallace also pointed out that Trump had gone through two legal teams before settling on Schoen and Castor, with previous attorneys excusing themselves after Trump reportedly insisted they lean hard into baseless accusations of voter fraud. (Mind you, Schoen and Castor have so far not done that either.) “He’s got the third string here,” Wallace said, “and frankly that’s about the way they’re acting.”
People — albeit not people who usually watch Fox News — applauded the expediency with which Wallace dismantled the Trump team’s legal defense.
Chris Wallace made the pro-insurrection crowd mad for taking down the Trump defense in less than 30 seconds.
— Lainie Nobel (@LainieNobel) February 12, 2021
Chris Wallace is the ONLY person on Fox News worth listening to.
He makes trumper heads explode.😂 https://t.co/3QsAfAKAmg
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) February 12, 2021
— FredSanford (@FredSan56422496) February 12, 2021