- In a Fox News Sunday interview, Chris Wallace grilled Trump senior campaign adviser Steve Cortes on why the first family did not wear masks at the debate.
- Wallace doubled down that the first family “broke the rules” that required everyone outside of President Trump, former Vice President Biden, and Wallace, the moderator, to wear masks.
- Cortes attempted to deflect the conversation to Wallace’s performance as a moderator on Tuesday night and accused him of not being a “neutral moderator then.”
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In a Fox News Sunday interview, Trump campaign senior advisor Steve Cortes and host Chris Wallace sparred over the First Family’s refusal to wear masks at the debate.
The president’s family did not wear masks at the first debate on Tuesday, just three days before President Donald Trump announced early Friday that he and the first lady tested positive for coronavirus.
Wallace on Sunday said, “Everybody except for the three of us (Trump, former VP Joe Biden, and Wallace, who was moderating) on the stage was to wear a mask.” He added that the members of “the Cleveland Clinic came over and offered the first family masks,” but “they were waved away” by the first family.
Wallace asked Cortes, “Everybody was told to wear a mask why did the first family and chief of staff feel the rules for everybody else didn’t apply to them?”
Cortes insisted that everyone was tested and that “we believe in masks, we also believe in some element of individual choice.”
Wallace pushed back on Cortes and noted that “everybody in that room was tested,” not just the first family.
“No, Steve, they weren’t distanced and there were rules and there was no freedom of choice — they broke the rules,” Wallace said.
Cortes deflected from Wallace’s point by criticizing his moderation of the debate.
“Chris, the way you’re starting to harangue me now actually reminds me of what you did to the president during that debate on Tuesday night,” Cortes said. “You were not a neutral moderator then.” Cortes then accused Wallace of being an “effective opposition to the president.”
Following last week’s debate, Trump and his close allies accused Wallace of being biased against the president. Wallace said he was disappointed on behalf of America after the disastrous 90-minute affair, where Trump made 75% of the interruptions and Biden told the president to “shut up” 20 minutes into the debate.
“I never dreamt that it would go off the tracks the way it did,” Wallace had said.