C-SPAN says Steve Scully’s Twitter account hacked as 2nd presidential debate moderator tweet called biased

William Cummings
 
| USA TODAY

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Trump says he won’t ‘waste my time’ on virtual debate

President Donald Trump told Fox Business that he won’t “waste my time” on a virtual presidential debate.

C-SPAN said Friday the Twitter account for Political Editor Steve Scully, who is slated to host the second presidential debate, was hacked after a tweet was posted from Scully’s official account in which he appeared to ask for advice from Trump critic Anthony Scaramucci about how to respond to criticism the president had leveled at him. 

“Steve Scully did not originate the tweet and believes his account has been hacked,” C-SPAN said in a statement. The Commission on Presidential Debates has stated publicly that the tweet was not sent by Scully himself and is investigating with the help of authorities. When additional information is available, we will release it.” 

In a radio interview with Fox News host Brian Kilmeade on Friday, Frank Fahrenkopf, co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, said “he was hacked” and that Scully did not post the tweet to Scaramucci. 

“It didn’t happen,” Fahrenkopf told Kilmeade. 

While criticizing the job Fox News anchor Chris Wallace did as a moderator during the first debate, Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday night he thought Scully – who interned for then-Sen. Joe Biden as an undergraduate at American University – was a “never-Trumper” who “worked for Biden at one point.” 

A post quickly appeared on Scully’s Twitter account in which he tagged Anthony Scaramucci, who has become a fierce critic of the president since his brief stint as Trump’s communications director. 

“@Scaramucci should I respond to trump,” it read, according to screenshots of the since-deleted post. 

“Ignore. He is having a hard enough time. Some more bad stuff about to go down,” Scaramucci tweeted in reply. 

The exchange prompted cries of outrage from Trump’s supporters who said the tweet was evidence of anti-Trump bias on the part of Scully.

“Steve Scully, the second Debate Moderator, is a Never Trumper, just like the son of the great Mike Wallace. Fix!!!” Trump tweeted, just before C-SPAN said Scully had been hacked. 

The kerfuffle over Scully’s tweet could prove to be a moot point as the fate of the second debate remains in question because Trump contracted COVID-19. The Commission on Presidential Debates had pushed for a virtual debate, but Trump rejected the idea. 

“I’m not Joe Biden. I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” the president told Hannity on Thursday. 

Fahrenkopf said the commission knew about Scully’s internship with Biden, which took place more than 40 years ago but dismissed it as being in the distant past. 

“Steve is a man of great integrity,” Fahrenkopf said. 

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said the allegation that Scully would not moderate the debate objectively was “beyond ridiculous.”

“Steve Scully is eminently fair. Anybody who watches CSPAN knows that,” Sabato tweeted in response to the president’s criticism. “Trump obviously doesn’t spend time there – not enough bile for his tastes.” 

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