It was a follow-up question that pinned Donald Trump down on the answer that immediately became the headline of the third presidential debate: the candidate’s refusal to say whether he would accept the results of the Nov. 8 election.
“I have been covering Trump for a year and half,” Wallace told The Los Angeles Times Thursday. “I’ve learned to not be surprised by anything.” Wallace said he felt the tug of history in framing his follow-up question:
“I thought, ‘You need to put this in historical context,’ which is why I asked a follow-up question about one of the long traditions of democracy — the idea of the peaceful transfer of power and that we accept the results of the election,” said Wallace. “I wanted to put it in context so that it was clear that whatever Trump said, folks understood how unprecedented this would be.”
Wallace, who has received strong reviews for his performance as the debate’s moderator, said he felt a lot riding on his shoulders as the first Fox News Channel journalist to serve as a general election presidential debate moderator in the network’s 20-year history:
“I was not just representing myself and my show, but my news organization in a way that I suspect that most of my colleagues at the other debates’ networks didn’t necessarily feel,” he said. “I had to do the job that I do and that a lot of my colleagues do everyday, to show people who take the easy way out and just dismiss Fox News and that they don’t understand what we do everyday and the kind of journalism we practice.”