Trump-Biden first presidential debate to be moderated by Chris Wallace, Fox CEO calls it 'proud distinction'

The 72-year-old journalist was the moderator of the third presidential debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016

                            Trump-Biden first presidential debate to be moderated by Chris Wallace, Fox CEO calls it 'proud distinction'
Donald Trump, Chris Wallace and Joe Biden (Getty Images)

Veteran Fox News anchor Chris Wallace will return as a moderator of the first debate between the two presidential candidates of this year’s election -- President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden. The first of the highly anticipated debates will take place at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 29. Vice-President Mike Pence will take on Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris in their debate in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 7. 

Both Trump and Biden formally accepted their respective presidential nominations at the party conventions held in August. Both of them targeted each other at the time of their acceptance speech, giving enough hint that the November 3 affair will be an intense one. Trump and Biden will meet for the other two debates on October 15 and 22, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, and Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, respectively. 

Chris Wallace moderating the final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in Las Vegas in October 2016 (Getty Images)

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) on Wednesday, September 2, named the 72-year-old award-winning Wallace, who anchors the weekly ‘Fox News Sunday’ program, besides three other journalists to handle the debates that will be shown on major networks and cable channels. 

Fox News CEO welcomes Wallace's pick

Wallace’s selection was welcomed by Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott who celebrated the moment in an email address to the staff members on Wednesday. “Revered as the gold standard in journalism, Chris has the innate ability to cut to the heart of issues that matter most to viewers while holding his interview subjects accountable to the facts like no other journalist in the industry. His debate moderator performance in 2016 was truly masterful and we are beyond excited to watch him brilliantly perform his craft once again,” she wrote.

“The selection of Chris today and his already legendary debate moderating performances are an immensely proud distinction for Fox News Media and are among the greatest moments in our near 24-year history,” Scott added. 

This will be the second successive time that Wallace will preside over a presidential debate. He was picked for the third debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton that took place at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in October 2016. He was the first Fox News anchor ever to moderate a presidential debate and his performance was praised across the political spectrum. 

In recent months, Wallace found himself in the middle of America's polarizing politics. While he was accused on one occasion of defending Trump, he claimed on another occasion that Biden did not accept an interview request after Trump asked whether the Democrat could handle tough questions from the TV host.

Other moderators

Steve Scully, the political editor at C-SPAN and host of the channel’s morning show, 'Washington Journal', will moderate the second debate while NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker will be the moderator for the third debate. Scully, 59, will be moderating the presidential debate for the first time although he informed over Twitter that he was a backup moderator in the previous election.


Welker, 44, has covered the White House for the last nine years and also co-anchors the Saturday edition of 'Today'. 

Susan Page, the 69-year-old Washington bureau chief for USA Today, will moderate the only vice presidential debate. 

The CPD was also happy to have picked some experienced journalists including Wallace for the mega debates. Co-chairs Frank J Fahrenkopf Jr, Dorothy S Ridings and Kenneth Wollack said in a statement: “We are grateful to these experienced journalists, who will help ensure that the general election presidential debates continue to serve their unique educational purpose of helping the public learn about the candidates. Each individual brings great professionalism to moderating and understands that the purpose of the 2020 debate formats is to facilitate in-depth discussion of major topics.”

In the 2016 presidential debates, Lester Holt, Anderson Cooper, Elaine Quijano and Martha Raddatz were in the moderators’ panel besides Wallace.

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