In a now-deleted bizarre exchange on Twitter, presidential debate moderator Steve Scully tagged anti-Trump advocate Anthony Scaramucci asking for advice on whether to “respond to Trump.”
While it is unclear what CSPAN’s Scully was referring to, the former White House communications director who was fired 10 days after his appointment for criticizing the Trump administration cryptically replied to the message, suggesting that “more bad stuff about to go down.”
“Ignore. He is having a hard enough time. Some more bad stuff about to go down,” Scaramucci replied.
Many tweeted speculation about the odd conversation, which appeared to demonstrate the men’s ignorance about Twitter users’ ability to privately direct-message users rather than tag them in a public post. Others questioned Scully’s integrity as the next presidential debate moderator.
Moderator Steve Scully deleted this tweet. Neither he nor the Presidential Debate Commission have addressed why he was asking a Trump loather for counsel on responding to Trump. Horrific problem here for the "independent" debate commission, in their worst year ever. https://t.co/rqChwmySQl
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) October 9, 2020
I’m getting the idea that maybe these debates aren’t entirely balanced. pic.twitter.com/lJQS9MTpTx
— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) October 9, 2020
What? Why is the next presidential debate moderator publicly asking one of Trump’s staunchest critics in Anthony Scaramucci if he should respond to the president? In a related story, Scully once interned for Sen. Joe Biden. Optics here are horrible & underscore mistrust is media. https://t.co/Ipkv0CVUCA
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) October 9, 2020
The guy who was scheduled to moderate the next debate just tweeted this.
Fun fact: he was also an intern for Joe Biden. pic.twitter.com/Tkggae1Fd0
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) October 9, 2020
Zero percent chance Trump ever shows up for a debate moderated by a guy who is apparently secretly getting Trump advice from the Mooch.
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) October 9, 2020
Makes me want to see Chris Wallace’s DMs https://t.co/J2P3PMQ2V5
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) October 9, 2020
odd thing for the next debate moderator to tweet. https://t.co/WXH0UdNEB4
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) October 9, 2020
It appears that our moderator for the next debate thinks he's dm'ing with Scaramucci but accidentally tweeted at him.
I'm sure he'll be a fair and unbiased moderator. https://t.co/gjbulY01dY
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) October 9, 2020
Despite Scully’s history working for Joe Biden when he was a senator and Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy as well as retweeting criticism of the Trump administration, the Commission on Presidential Debates chose him to moderate the second presidential debate in Miami.
— Steve Scully (@SteveScully) June 4, 2016
Not only did the commission, which claims it “does not endorse, support, or oppose political candidates or parties” completely overlook Scully’s obvious disqualifiers, but the commission’s board, which has an average age of over 71 years old, also changed the debate rules both major presidential parties already agreed to, claiming that the first “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 commission also announced on Thursday that the second debate moderated by Scully, originally scheduled to be held in-person on Oct. 15, would instead be held virtually. President Donald Trump expressed concern about a virtual debate, saying he didn’t want to waste his time and accusing the commission of “trying to protect Biden.” Trump also said he would not participate.
It is reported that, instead of a debate between the two, Biden is now scheduled to partake in an ABC town hall event on Oct. 15 and Trump will be hosting a rally.