Debate Panel's Integrity Questioned After Moderator Steve Scully Tweets to 'Trump Hater' Scaramucci

The debate commission's chairman Frank Fahrenkopf said on Friday that Steve Scully's account was 'hacked'

Steve Scully, the moderator for second presidential debate and a C-SPAN journalist, came under fire on Thursday for tweeting to former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, known for his anti-Trump views. The now-deleted interaction between the two prompted Trump supporters to question the integrity of the debate commission and call for Scully's disqualification as the debate moderator.

The exchange of tweets between Scully and Scaramucci came after Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity that the C-SPAN journalist was a "never-Trumper and I think somebody said he worked for Biden at one point'." Scully tweeted to Scaramucci asking whether he should respond to Trump. Twitter users speculated whether the tweet was originally intended as a private message to Scaramucci, who told him to "ignore" Trump's comments since he was having a "hard enough time."

Steve Scully
Steve Scully Twitter

While Scully deleted the tweet, Twitter users took screenshot of the conversation and posted it on the micro-blogging site. Trump supporters denounced the 60-year-old journalist and some posted photos of him with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Donald Trump Jr tweeted about the incident saying the debate commission was "rigged."

The commission's chairman Frank Fahrenkopf said on Friday that Scully's account was "hacked."

"Steve is a man of great integrity, okay? I don't know this question about whether he tweeted something out or not, I do know, and you'll probably pick up on it in a minute, that he was hacked," Fahrenkopf said on 'The Brian Kilmeade Show.' "Apparently, there's something now that's been on television and the radio saying that he talked to Scaramucci... He was hacked. It didn't happen."

Scaramucci defended Scully calling him an "objective journalist."

Scaramucci, a former supporter of Trump, was dismissed from his job as the President's communications director on July 31, 2017, after serving for only 11 days. During his short tenure, he stoked controversy for being critical of the Trump administration members in an interview with the New Yorker. He said he believed the statements were off the record. After losing his job, Scaramucci has been a prominent critic of Trump.

This article was first published on October 9, 2020