Fox News host Chris Wallace is opening up about his anger with the first family after they failed to wear face masks during the first presidential debate. Held in Cleveland, Ohio back on Sept. 29, the Trump family, including President Donald Trump's children, were seated behind Wallace, the debate moderator, though throughout the event, they were seen without masks, a violation of debate rules that required all those in the audience to wear masks. Wallace, Trump, and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, all of whom were separated by more than the recommended six feet, were not required to wear masks.
Addressing the lack of masks from the Trump family more than a month later, Wallace, in an Instagram Live interview with Washington Post reporter Geoff Edgers shared Sunday, admitted that he was "p–ed off." Wallace said that he was initially "not fully conscious of the fact they weren't wearing masks" because he was focused on moderating the event, though "after had the luxury to think about it, I was p–ed off." Expressing his upset, Wallace asked, "did they think that the rules that applied to everybody else didn't apply to them? and added that he "was upset when it turned out I’d been on the stage in a uniquely vulnerable position," referencing the multiple coronavirus cases to come from the white House in the days that followed.
This is not the first time Wallace has spoken out against the first family's decision to forego masks at the debate. Just days after Trump and Biden battled it out on stage for the first time in the debate that was dubbed as "chaotic" by many, Wallace grilled Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, on why the first family didn't wear masks. During an interview on Fox News Sunday in early October, Wallace asked Lara if she thought that "the rules that applied to everybody else in that hall didn't apply to you?" Lara responded by stating "of course we didn't think that" and said "we felt like we were being safe" because they wore masks when entering the venue before taking them off when sitting down. Wallace, however, had noted that the Trumps did not follow the rules, which "were, everybody except for the president, the vice president and I, were supposed to wear masks."
While some criticism had erupted on that first debate night regarding the lack of masks, the criticism grew more widespread after it was confirmed just two days later the Trump and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus. Their diagnoses had followed that of Senior White House adviser Hope Hicks, who had also attended the debate.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health experts have said that masks are key in fighting the spread of the coronavirus, masks have become a political flashpoint. The president has only been seen wearing a mask in public on a handful of occasions, and he has mocked Biden for wearing them.