Update (1930ET): Since PJ Media and a handful of other conservative reporters first drew attention to the fact that the chosen moderator for the second debate, Steve Scully, has a long history of anti-Trump tweets (he also got his start in politics by interning in then-Sen. Joe Biden's office during his college days, before taking a job in the office of Sen Ted Kennedy), more of Scully's ramblings attacking Trump during the 2016 race and after have surfaced online.
In one now-infamous tweet, Scully shared a column from the NYT along with the line: "No, not Trump, not ever."
Here's the guy who will be moderating the next debate.— The First (@TheFirstonTV) October 1, 2020
Can't imagine why people don't trust the media. pic.twitter.com/OTj3BuM3n9
And this photo of Scully grinning alongside Biden has also gone viral (we shared it earlier below).
Scully's social media posts prompted one Trump sympathizer to wonder aloud: Do they ever hire Republicans to moderate these debates?
Here we go again. C-SPANS Steve Sculley, who will moderate the next debate, interned for then Senator Biden as a college student and he worked on Senator Ted Kennedy's re-election campaign in 1980.— Go Trump 🇺🇸 (@GKeile) October 1, 2020
Are there ever republicans that moderate these debates?
President Trump is debating Joe Biden and Chris Wallace. Next debates will be worse. Radical left will be moderating. Yes, the same people whose one liners Joe Biden is repeating tonight at the Presidential Debate.— Kambree (@KamVTV) September 30, 2020
Will this be enough to prompt the organizers of the presidential debates to abandon plans to give the moderator new "tools" to stop the debate from going 'off the rails' and devolving into a chaotic "shitshow", as CNN termed the first one?
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President Trump tweeted Thursday that he wouldn't allow the Commission on Presidential Debates to move ahead with promised changes to the debate formate, which the organization announced yesterday.
In a statement, the Commission on Presidential Debates said it was mulling what to do, and also raised the possibility of equipping moderators with new "tools" - perhaps including the ability to cut a speaker's mic.
“Last night’s debate made it clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues,” the statement read. Although it didn’t say what changes were coming, the commission said it “intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates.”
But Trump in a series of tweets sent Thursday afternoon, Trump boasted that he won the debate, and questioned "why would I allow the Debate Commission to change the rules for the second and third Debates when I easily won last time?"
It's a good question.
I won the debate big, based on compilation of polls etc. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2020
Why would I allow the Debate Commission to change the rules for the second and third Debates when I easily won last time?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2020
Trump's campaign held a 1500ET phone call with reporters to discuss the opposition to tweaking the format. During the call, the campaign told reporters that they don't want to change the rules, and accused "swamp monsters" on the debate committee of having unseemly ties to Democrats.
Trump campaign says on a call they do not want any changes in debate, criticizing "swamp monsters" on the presidential debate commission for trying to change the rules.— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) October 1, 2020
"We look forward to participating in the second and third debate."
Meanwhile, debate moderator Chris Wallace griped in a Fox News interview that the president had "put his foot" in the "beautiful cake" Wallace had baked.
"I never dreamt that it would go off the tracks the way it did," Wallace added.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden on Wednesday said he was “looking forward” to additional debates but would not “speculate” on possible rules changes.
Before the call, PJ Media reported that the moderator for the second debate, C-SPAN's Steve Scully, had interned in then-Sen. Joe Biden's office when he was in college, before going on to work full time in the office of Ted Kennedy, another Democratic Senator. Of course, many of the president's most rabid supporters accused Wallace of being too hostile of an interviewer to fairly preside over the debate.
Finally, the biggest irony of all this farce, as National Review’s David Harsanyi put it, is that the answer isn’t to crack down on the candidates but to let them fight it out. “As with most issues pertaining to the debates, the Commission has it backward: We don’t need more rules, we need more open-ended discussion.”