The first of the three presidential debates between President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden concluded on Tuesday night. The two contenders argued with each other at various points during the debate, but it was Fox News host Chris Wallace's moderation that became one of the key topics of discussion among social media users.
The debate was peppered with interruptions and confrontations from Trump and Biden as Wallace tried to take hold of the discussion. The 72-year-old journalist had to constantly remind both the candidates to not interrupt one another and keep the debate civil.
"Gentlemen, you realize that you're both speaking at the same time," Wallace told Trump and Biden.
The Fox News host told Trump to not interrupt anymore, to which the president said Biden interrupted too. He also suggested Trump, in humor, to switch seats with him and assume the role of the moderator. Wallace even pleaded Trump to allow him to ask his questions.
"The country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions," Wallace said, nudging Trump to stop interrupting. "I'm appealing to you, sir, to do it."
"And him, too?" Trump asked Wallace nodding toward Biden. To this, Wallace said: "Well, frankly, you've been doing more interrupting."
In one segment, Wallace asked Trump about his health care plan. He also pointed out to the president that removing Obamacare mandate to have insurance did not equate with having a major plan. At one point, Trump told Wallace that he was debating more with the moderator than Biden.
"Let me ask my question," Wallace said. "Mr. President, I'm the moderator of this debate, I'd like you to let me ask my question and then you can answer. ... My question, sir, is what is the Trump health care plan?"
Trump retorted: "Well, first of all, I guess I'm debating you not him. But that's OK, I'm not surprised."
Toward the end of the debate, Wallace reminded Trump that his campaign agreed that the president would abide by the two-minute response rule.
"Why don't you observe what your campaign agreed to as a ground rule, OK sir?" Wallace asked. When Trump tried to respond to the question, the moderator told him: "That was a rhetorical question."
Conservatives, including Wallace's former and current colleagues at Fox News, lambasted him over his performance as a moderator. They alleged him of favoring Biden over Trump. However, some social media users simply commented on Wallace's poor handling of the debate and others managed to make light of the moderator's job.