“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace fired back at Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes as a conversation about last Tuesday’s debate got heated.
“Oh yeah, I harangued him,” Wallace said in a sarcastic tone when Cortes accused him of forcing President Donald Trump to debate both him and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. (RELATED: ‘He Bears The Primary Responsibility’: Chris Wallace Blames Trump For Debate Debacle)
Wallace recalled the fact that, despite rules at the Cleveland Clinic where Tuesday’s debate was held, members of the Trump family and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows chose to remove their masks during the event.
“Do they think that the health and safety rules for everybody else do not apply to them?” Wallace asked.
Cortes explained that everyone had been tested prior to the event, but Wallace pushed back, saying that the rules had not been dependent on testing.
“So forget this question of being tested before —” Wallace continued as Cortes tried to cut in. “No, I’m going to finish my question. Everybody was told to wear a mask. Why did the First Family and the chief of staff feel that the rules for everybody else didn’t apply to them?”
Cortes pushed back, saying that the president supported the use of masks but also valued the freedom of choice, arguing again that the people present at the debate had all been tested and had kept distance between the seats.
“They broke the rules,” Wallace said again.
“I was there like you were —” Cortes began.
“Why did they break the rules?” Wallace asked again. “It doesn’t matter, Steve, the rules from the Cleveland Clinic — the rules from the Cleveland Clinic were everybody wears a mask, why didn’t they?”
“The way you are starting to harangue me now actually reminds me of what you did to the president during the debate on Tuesday night —” Cortes replied.
“Oh, yeah, I harangued him,” Wallace said.
“He had to debate not just Joe Biden, but you as well. You were not a neutral moderator,” Cortes argued, adding, “I don’t mind tough questions. But what I don’t think is okay as for you to become the effective opposition to the president. Okay? And everyone there was tested in the crowd, they were distanced from each other. People can make —”
“Steve, let me just say the president interrupted me and the vice president 145 times, so I object to you saying I harangued the president. I know it’s the talking point,” Wallace concluded, noting that the debate commission had said that anyone refusing to wear a mask at future events would be escorted from the hall.