Wallace moderated the contentious face-off between Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, but he struggled to assert control as the two candidates repeatedly interrupted and insulted each other.
Appearing on Bill Hemmer Reports, Wallace said that he expected a “real debate,” but noted that he realized at one point that Trump would try to steamroll his opponent.
“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,” Wallace began, pointing out that a Fox News analysis has found Trump interrupted Biden 145 times in total.
“He bears the primary responsibility for what happened on Tuesday.”
“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.’ I guess I did that twice. And then I began being more forceful,” Wallace explained.
Wallace noted that he warned Trump to stop with the interruptions, but the commander-in-chief hit back, complaining that Biden should have also been warned.
Biden spoke out of turn as well, the veteran anchor said, but not nearly as much as Trump.
Wallace conceded that some of the criticism he has received since Tuesday is legitimate, admitting that he should have noticed early on the debate was going off the tracks.
“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,” he stated.
On Tuesday night, those supportive of Trump argued that Wallace did all he could to help Biden while posing loaded questions to the president. Conversely, Democrats accused the host of letting Trump dodge questions and interrupt Biden.
In the aftermath of the chaotic evening, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that it is considering changing the rules for future debates.
Trump has repeatedly lashed out at Wallace, complaining about allegedly unfair treatment toward him.
In a Twitter message posted on Wednesday, the commander-in-chief complained about having to compete against two men. However, he concluded that the encounter went well for him because he forced Biden to distance himself from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
Several hours later, he posted a graphic meant to suggest that Wallace was biased toward Biden.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2020
During a campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota, on Wednesday evening, Trump declared victory, saying that he enjoyed debating his general election opponent.