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OPINION

Chris Wallace ‘Sad’ How Debate ‘Turned Out’: ‘Never Dreamt That It Would Go Off the Tracks’

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Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor who more than most at the right wing cable network stands up to President Donald Trump, was exceptionally passive in his moderation of the first presidential debate of 2020.

He was equally passive in how he discussed and described his performance.

“I’m just sad with the way last night turned out,” Wallace passively told The New York Times’ Michael Grynbaum.

“I never dreamt that it would go off the tracks the way it did,” he continued, appearing to take no responsibility for what was overwhelmingly described on social media Tuesday night as a “shit show.”

Continuing down the path of passivity, Wallace lamented it was “a terrible missed opportunity.”

“I’ve read some of the reviews, I know people think, Well, gee, I didn’t jump in soon enough,” he added. “I guess I didn’t realize — and there was no way you could, hindsight being 20/20 — that this was going to be the president’s strategy, not just for the beginning of the debate but the entire debate.”

There in fact was every reason to believe Trump would do what he did Tuesday night – bully, attack, threaten, lie, talk over his opponent, talk over the moderator, refuse to answer direct questions, and embarrass the nation – because he’s done it before, to varying degrees.

“I’m a pro. I’ve never been through anything like this,” Wallace says.

He also refused to blame the president for destroying the entire debate.

Asked directly if Mr. Trump had derailed the debate, Mr. Wallace replied, “Well, he certainly didn’t help.”

Care to elaborate? “No,” Mr. Wallace said. “To quote the president, ‘It is what it is.’”

Wallace seems keenly aware of the power of public opinion, and clearly allowed that to impact his role.

“People have to remember, and too many people forget, both of these candidates have the support of tens of millions of Americans.”

The heads of Fox News, the Murdoch family, praised Wallace, issued a memo supporting him, and toasted him.

Wallace does not seem to have any regrets.

“Generally speaking, I did as well as I could, so I don’t have any second thoughts there,” Mr. Wallace said, in conclusion. “I’m just disappointed with the results. For me, but much more importantly, I’m disappointed for the country, because it could have been a much more useful evening than it turned out to be.”

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OPINION

Trump Is a Threat to Democracy – Even if He Loses: Signorile

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This article first appeared in Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter. To see the article in its original location or to subscribe, click here.

Here we’ve been for almost four years, worried that Donald Trump will destroy us if he wins re-election in two weeks.

But what about if he clearly and decisively loses? Prepare yourself for the fact that none of us is going to be able to take a vacation — even if he does accept the loss and vacates the White House in January.

Right now, Trump is projecting an air of invincibility. “We are going to win,” he told his campaign staffers yesterday. Later he told reporters, “I’m not running scared. I think I’m running angry. I’m running happy and I’m running very content ’cause I’ve done a great job.”

But this seems like damage control meant to stop the media from continuing to focus in on his rallies over the weekend, in which he pondered what would happen if he lost (“Maybe I’ll have to leave the country”) and begged suburban women for their votes (“Suburban women, please like me”).

According the Associated Press, quoting three campaign and White House officials, “Trump himself has alternated between disbelief and anger at the idea that he could lose to a candidate whom he views as washed up and incompetent.”

He’s freaking out. Even Trump, who often seems so out of touch with reality, sees what’s happening quite clearly. My hunch is that he knows it’s highly unlikely that he can turn things around this late in the game by switching positions, reaching out to women and people of color and others he’s losing badly, since voters are locked in and many despise him. And if he even tries, he’ll depress and possibly enrage his own base.

Another politician in such dire straits might just take that chance — certainly we’re seeing some GOP senators doing that, moving away a bit from Trump, though it’s likely far too late — but for Trump, a loss of support among his base after his re-election bid failed would be a loss of what he sees as a protective mass movement that will do anything for him.

Trump has got to be worried about investigations and prosecutions, and would no longer have the Justice Department, the military or the pardon power to wield as tools. And even if he tries to pardon himself for any crimes, which would ultimately go to the courts — or enacts the scenario his former fixer Michael Cohen envisions, in which he steps down in the lame duck, and Mike Pence briefly becomes president and pardons him — that won’t protect him from state charges.

To read the remainder of this article, visit Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter.

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OPINION

Topics for Final Presidential Debate Announced and Boy Will Donald Trump Be in Trouble

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NBC News White House Correspondent Kristen Welker has just announced the topics for the final presidential debate next week on October 22 in Tennessee.

There are six topics, most of which are policy-driven topics, where Trump routinely is challenged. They were chosen by Welker, and released through the Commission on Presidential Debates, as the Associated Press reports.

They are: Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security, and Leadership.

Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been panned by Republicans and Democrats alike, and his approval rating on the issue, which most Americans place as the most important, is 57.4% disapprove, and just 39.8% approve, according to FiveThirtyEight‘s analysis.

The President may be a Republican but he’s never been a “family values” Republican as his sexual misconduct can attest.

Trump fails miserably on race. His handling of the Black Lives Matter protests elicited angry charges of fascism.

The President is a science and climate change denier who claims windmills cause cancer, pulled out of the Paris agreement, and expanded oil and gas drilling into areas never before seen, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. His decision to open the Eastern Seaboard to offshore drilling was criticized even by Republicans.

During the first debate when climate change was a topic Trump criticized that California has not “cleaned” its forests. (Most of California’s forests are federal lands, not state property.)

The President has no national security plans, and is widely known for having no interest in receiving what were once known as Daily Intelligence Briefings. In the Trump White House those are now just “intelligence briefings,” and Trump receives on average just four per month. His last intel briefing was more than three weeks ago, on September 22.

As for leadership, well, here’s what Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska told 17,000 of his constituents recently:

“The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor.”

He also said he did not think Trump’s leadership during the coronavirus pandemic has been “reasonable or responsible, or right.”

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OPINION

Trump Plants More Seeds for Refusing to Concede – Falsely Claims ‘Tens of Thousands’ of Ballots Are ‘Fraudulent’

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President Donald Trump is building on his stunning remarks from last month, when he repeatedly refused to promise a peaceful transition of power should he lose re-election. Trump is the first United States president to ever refuse to honor centuries of accepted conduct.

Trump on Thursday falsely claimed there have already been “tens of thousands” of “fraudulent” ballots in this election.

“Look at these ballots that are being — tens of thousands of ballots are already fraudulent,” he told Fox News Business’ Stuart Varney. “I want to see a fair election. That’s all I’m asking for is a fair election.”

That’s actually not what he’s asking for, as evidenced by the massive voter intimidation and election interference campaigns he and his supporters have been waging.

“Under what circumstances would you concede?” Fox News Business’s Stuart Varney asked Trump during a telephone interview, as Raw Story reported.

“All I want is a fair election,” Trump claimed.

“So, it’s your judgement as to whether it’s fair or not as to whether you would concede?” Varney, a top Trump supporter, asked.

“Stuart, they always talk about the friendly transition,” Trump replied.

That’s false.

The term has always been “peaceful transition,” not “friendly transition.”

It’s an important distinction with a difference.

Trump is again making up “facts” so he can then use that to later defend his indefensible actions.

“They spied on my campaign and they got caught,” the President continued, lying. There was no spying on his campaign. Even the Dept. of Justice agrees, after it quietly closed down the false “unmasking” probe after finding no evidence of wrongdoing or criminal activity by anyone in the Obama administration.

“They tried to overthrow the president of the United States and they got caught,” Trump continued, again, a ludicrous lie. “And then they stand up so innocent and they say, ‘Will you, you know, do a fair transition?’ Well, they didn’t do a fair transition.”

Again, the term is “peaceful,” not “fair.”

Fair is subjective. Friendly is subjective. Peaceful is not.

“You’re implying if you don’t think it’s fair, you won’t leave the White House,” Varney pointed out, “which means you won’t concede.”

“I’m not saying anything!” Trump replied. “I’m saying this. I think everybody says it. You have to have a fair election. Look at these ballots that are being — tens of thousands of ballots are already fraudulent. I want to see a fair election. That’s all I’m asking for is a fair election.”

“But you know when they talk about a friendly transition, they spied on my campaign,” he added.

“If it wasn’t a friendly transition when you walked into the White House, does that mean that you’re not going to allow a friendly transition if Joe Biden walks into the White House?” Varney pressed.

Trump went on to claim, “people broke the law, people spied on my campaign and they act so innocent.”

“And we have all the evidence. We have so much evidence,” he insisted, which if it were true Attorney General Bill Barr, who has been acting as Trump’s personal attorney, would have brought charges.

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