Following the news that President Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, Fox’s Chris Wallace seems determined to push aside some of the pro-Trump agenda of his on-air colleagues and focus on truth-telling instead.
On Friday morning, Wallace told the Trump propaganda-spewing panelists on Fox and Friends about how, during this week’s debate that he moderated, the first family and other Trump surrogates entered the debate hall wearing masks but then removed after they were seated.
Wallace said that his own family, as well as Joe Biden’s family and campaign staff, wore masks throughout, but the first family and other Trump surrogates “waved away” on scene health officials offering masks — an obvious nudge to get them to adhere to the rules set forth by the Cleveland Clinic requiring attendees wear a mask.
— Peter Wade (@brooklynmutt) October 2, 2020
Also on Friday Wallace discussed the same topic on Fox’s Outnumbered. The veteran journalist shared his personal experience of the aftermath of being in close quarters of the president, relaying that his doctor surmised that Trump had likely contracted the virus before the debate.
“My doctor is telling me that I shouldn’t get a test today because it takes five days for the virus to load up enough. And that I could have a test, but it might well be a false negative. The significance of that to me is that if the president had a test yesterday and it tested positive, then I think he had the coronavirus during the debate,” Wallace said while emphasizing that he is only repeating the advice of his doctor, who also recommended he get tested on Monday.
Wallace continued by saying that Trump’s positive test “puts [Covid-19] right to the top of the political agenda again and makes it a very important issue in this campaign” for both the president and Biden.
Fox host and panelist Melissa Francis seized on the mention of Trump’s opponent and asked Wallace if the Biden campaign should continue its plan to do doorknocking canvassing.
Wallace seemed a bit bewildered by the question and went on to answer by going back to the way both campaigns have dealt with the pandemic from the start of the election season.
“These two campaigns have dealt with Covid very differently,” he said. “President Trump has been out without a mask. He’s been holding these big rallies. Thousands of people. Tremendous, enthusiastic Trump supporters crowding into outdoor spaces, airports, but without masks in many cases and very close together. No social distancing.” Wallace added that Biden “has been much more cautious wearing a mask. Much smaller events… this is going to cause a reexamination, I suspect, on both sides about what’s the right way to handle it.”
Wallace went further and brought up how Trump made light of mask-wearing during the debate.
“You know, we talked about it in the debate,” he said. “I asked the president about the fact that Biden has worn a mask, he hasn’t. President took a mask out and said, you know, ‘I’ve got a mask here, but I don’t think I have to wear it.’ And frankly, he mocked Joe Biden and said he’s always wearing a mask and he always has these small crowds.”
Wallace then returned to what he told the Fox viewers earlier Friday morning about Trump’s entourage disregarding safety protocols during the debate. Francis tried to interrupt Wallace, saying, “I heard you make that point before.”
But, Wallace continued undeterred:
“If I may, please. Because they were taking it so seriously, members of the Cleveland Clinic came up to them and said, ‘You know, if you need a mask’ and they waved them away. And I can tell you, people in the hall noticed that the first family wasn’t wearing a mask. Mrs. Biden was. People in the Biden camp were. My wife was. My children were, and they noticed that the first family wasn’t wearing a mask against the protocol of the Cleveland Clinic.”
Francis again told Wallace that she heard him tell that story earlier today, and acknowledged that it is “impactful.” But she seemed determined to put the focus on how Biden’s campaign might handle things going forward. Francis even said that Wallace was making a point of it when he did no such thing.
Francis: “You know, I understand that — I heard you tell that story earlier today, and I think it is impactful. But if I may just say. So, your point is, though, that the Biden camp, if they’re going to stick to the way that they have run this campaign. And stick to the things that you just said and pointing out when people are wearing masks, and aren’t, they can’t begin their grassroots doorknocking today, or else that would be hypocritical, right?”
Wallace answered by saying that he didn’t know, and acknowledged that the Biden campaign might be able to campaign that way if they “socially distanced.” But Wallace kept his focus on what he thought was the important subject of the day: “The health of the president. And the question of the safety.”
“I don’t know that that’s the key story today,” Wallace said of Francis’ rather odd focus on doorknocking, adding, “It seems to me, the key story is the health of the president. And the question of the safety.”
Wallace then got fed up and made it clear what he thought should be the topic at hand: safety and following science during the pandemic.
“You know, to me, the take away of this whole thing is the follow the science. We’ve made the masks a political issue. We haven’t. The candidates have,” He said, “And it’s not a political issue. It’s a public health issue.”
Wallace continued by doing something that loyal Fox viewers are not accustomed to. Unlike the president and the hosts on the network, the veteran journalist spoke directly to the audience and told them the truth: “And if I could say one thing to all of the people out there watching. Forget the politics. This is a public safety health issue. The president of the United States is in the most secure bubble in the world, in the sense that everybody who comes in contact with him has to take a test. And he still got it. So wear the damn mask! And follow the science.”
"The president of the United States is in the most secure bubble in the world… and he still got it. So, wear the damn mask!" – Chris Wallace pic.twitter.com/RNg6JXafXb
— Peter Wade (@brooklynmutt) October 2, 2020