Politico

Debate moderator Chris Wallace: 'I'm going to have to get a test'


Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, who moderated the first 2020 presidential debate earlier this week, said Friday that he would take a Covid-19 test in the coming days after President Donald Trump announced he had contracted the coronavirus.

“You can bet — I’ve already been asked by a lot of people — I’m going to have to get a test,” Wallace said in an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”

“Because although I think I was far enough away, you know, we all take that question: ‘Were you exposed to somebody who was has tested positive for Covid?’ The answer is yes,” he said.

Wallace acknowledged that “the three people on that stage” Tuesday night in Cleveland “were all 70-plus” and “in the high-risk factor” of elderly people more likely to have complications from the virus.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is 77, Trump is 74 and Wallace is 72. The virus can have wide-ranging effects on different people, even at advanced age, from relatively mild symptoms to devastating breathing problems.

Biden, Trump and Wallace did not wear masks at the debate. Biden and Trump did not shake hands at the outset of the debate, a precaution that was agreed to by both campaigns.

The candidates’ podiums and the moderator’s desk were all many feet apart. Wallace said Friday that “what you saw on the TV is the closest I got to the president” during the debate.

“You know, I’ve been trying to sort of go over it in my mind. It’s got to have been 10, 12 feet,” he said of his proximity to Trump.

Although Biden shared a brief exchange with Wallace after the debate finished, Wallace said he did not interact with Trump.

“He never approached me at the end of the debate,” Wallace said. “Vice President Biden did briefly to basically — I’m trying to remember the exact words. Basically, to say, ‘I bet you didn’t know you had signed up for this.'”

Trump repeatedly bulldozed through Wallace’s questions and Biden’s responses Tuesday, resulting in the nonpartisan commission responsible for organizing the debates announcing Wednesday that “additional tools” would be made available “to maintain order” at future forums.

Wallace revealed Friday all debate attendees were administered a Covid-19 nasal swab test staff by the Cleveland Clinic, which hosted the event, “so everybody that was in that hall had tested negative.”

Wallace also pointed out that multiple members of the president’s entourage at the debate declined to wear masks, despite requests from Cleveland Clinic staff.

“Certainly there was no sign during the debate of any problems with the president, in terms of his health,” Wallace said. “But it is worth noting that the different people treated the safety rules inside the hall differently.”

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