Chris Wallace Works Through ‘PTSD’ to Relive Chaotic Debate: Trump ‘Bears the Primary Responsibility for What Happened’


Fox News anchor Chris Wallace is speaking out on television for the first time since the debate over which he presided on Tuesday night — and he’s putting most of the blame for the chaotic event on President Donald Trump.

Appearing on Bill Hemmer Reports Thursday, Wallace got his much-anticipated segment off to a lighthearted start by reacting tongue-in-cheek to a clip of the debate showing a particularly frantic sequence.

“I had just gotten over the PTSD,” Wallace joked. “And then you put me right back into it.”

Wallace further snarked that his plan for the debate got off track as soon as he said, “Good evening.” Then, the Fox News Sunday anchor proceeded to offer a sober analysis of what went wrong.

“I thought, ‘We’re going to have a real debate here,'” Wallace said — noting that he took Trump’s first interruption of former Vice President Joe Biden as a sign that an organic conversation would take place. “It became clearer and clearer over time that this was something different, and that the president was determined to try to butt in and throw Joe Biden off … I saw [a] Fox analysis that indicates the president interrupted either Biden’s answers or my questions a total of 145 times, which is way more than one a minute.

“He bears the primary responsibility for what happened on Tuesday.”

The Fox News Sunday anchor went on to lay out his thought process on how to get the president back in line — though his methods ultimately proved futile.

“In the beginning, I was cajoling, ‘Mr. President, wait a minute. I’m going to ask a question you’re going to want to hear,'” Wallace said. “I guess I did that twice. And then I began being more forceful. And at a certain point, 45 minutes in, I called a halt to the debate for a moment and said this, ‘You know, this really isn’t serving America. Please stop the interruptions.’ The president said, ‘Well, why don’t you admonish him?’ And I said, ‘Because you’re doing a lot more of the interrupting, Mr. President.’ Biden was doing some, no question about it. But less than half as many times as the president.”

Wallace acknowledged the criticism he’s received in the days following the debate, as well as some supportive words from rivals and colleagues. He went on to say that his big regret is not realizing the debate had gone off the rails until approximately the halfway point.

“It was only 45 minutes in that I realized what a total mess and disservice this was to the country, and try to stop it,” Wallace said. “Do I wish I had stepped in earlier? Yes. But as I say, hindsight is 20/20.”

Watch above, via Fox News.

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Joe DePaolo is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter: @joe_depaolo