Just days ago, the biggest problem Chris Wallace had was the fallout from his lackluster moderation of a disastrous first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Wallace was initially disappointed with the debate, but after news of Trump’s positive COVID-19 test and subsequent symptoms, it sounds more like he’s downright furious.
In an interview with the New York Times, Wallace, who at publication time was still waiting for results from his coronavirus test, admonished people to “wear the damn mask” in regard to coronavirus safety measures, some of which were clearly skirted by the Trump team at the Cleveland debate site that’s now seeing positive coronavirus cases in the debacle’s aftermath.
“Follow the science,” Mr. Wallace said. “If I could say one thing to all of the people out there watching: Forget the politics. This is a public safety health issue.”
The anchor, who has expressed regret about the chaotic nature of Tuesday’s debate, said he planned to take a coronavirus test on Monday on the advice of his doctors, who said that any infection could take several days to generate a positive result.
The report, which aside from the word “damn” in the headline was not incredibly inflammatory when you look at the rest of the news on Friday, was given new context as the day went on. Trump’s reported symptoms increased, as did news that at least two journalists working in the White House had tested positive for the virus as well. News broke on Friday afternoon that there were double digit COVID-19 positives among people who attended the debate as well.
That news made another Wallace report, this time on Fox News, more disturbing. The debate moderator and Fox News veteran alleged that the Trump administration’s guests at the debate did not get tested when arriving in Cleveland, as was agreed upon by both parties. Wallace said he was tested before, as were others, but only because they arrived much earlier than Trump, his family and his team.
Chris Wallace just said on Fox that Trump arrived too late in Cleveland to have been tested by the clinic and that there was an "honor system" for the candidates to have arrived after already testing negative. pic.twitter.com/8jGZGWJjPT
— Andrew Kirell (@AndrewKirell) October 2, 2020
“They didn’t arrive until Tuesday afternoon. So for them to get tested, there wouldn’t have been enough time to have the test and have the debate at 9 that night,” Wallace said. “They didn’t show up until 3, 4, 5 in the afternoon. Yeah, there was an honor system when it came to the people that came into the hall from the two campaigns.”
Hope Hicks, who was reportedly the first of the White House staff to experience symptoms and test positive for the virus, was among people in the Trump party to attend the debate. They were seen wearing masks when entering the audience but removed their masks once they sat down, which was also against the agreed-upon rules of the debate.
Wallace was clearly upset about the Trump party not following protocol, which is fair considering his own health is now at risk with the news of positive tests. As he noted, it may be several days before a potential positive could come up on his testing.