C-SPAN’s Steve Scully breaks silence, thanks debate commission as Trump-Biden event is canceled
C-SPAN host Steve Scully resurfaced online Friday evening for the first time since his account was allegedly hacked.
In a Twitter post, Scully thanked the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) and wished NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker luck in moderating the final debate between President Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, scheduled for Oct. 22.
Scully, the commission’s choice to moderate the now-canceled Trump-Biden town hall event in Miami that was set for this coming Thursday, went viral this week after a tweet from his account indicated he had reached out to former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, something he later alleged was the result of his account being hacked.
For much of Friday, Scully’s Twitter account was deactivated. However, Scully quietly returned to the platform Friday night but locked his account so that only approved followers could see his tweets.
Conservative commentator Stephen Miller shared a screenshot of a tweet Scully wrote that did not address the alleged hacking.
“I want to thank the CPD @debates for the honor of moderating next Thursday’s now [canceled] #PresidentialDebate2020 town hall meeting in Miami,” Scully said. “@cspan and I want to wish @KristenWelkerNBC the very best of luck on October 22nd. Debates are a vital part of America’s democracy.”
According to a statement from C-SPAN, Scully “did not originate the tweet” to Scaramucci that is in question. The statement added that the debate panel was investigating the incident “with the help of authorities.”
The debate commission later stated it had “reported the apparent hack to the FBI and Twitter” as part of its investigation.
A Twitter spokesperson told Fox News, “We’ve no comment” when asked to confirm whether Scully’s account had been hacked.
The debate commission had selected Scully to moderate what was planned to be the second presidential debate between Trump and Biden but that debate was canceled Friday night after Trump pulled out following the commission’s announcement that the event would be held virtually instead of in person.
The move followed the president’s coronavirus diagnosis.
Biden subsequently withdrew from the debate and has since scheduled an ABC News town hall for the night that the debate was supposed to take place.
Frank Fahrenkopf, a co-chairman of the commission, first made the hacking claim to Fox News Radio’s “The Brian Kilmeade Show” on Friday morning.
“Steve is a man of great integrity, OK?” Fahrenkopf said. “I don’t know this question about whether he tweeted something out or not. I do know, and you’ll probably pick up on it in a minute, that he was hacked … Apparently, there’s something now that’s been on television and the radio saying that he talked to Scaramucci … He was hacked. It didn’t happen.”
Scully’s initial tweet caused confusion and fury among critics, with many concluding the moderator meant to send his message to Scaramucci privately.
Scaramucci responded by telling Scully: “Ignore. He is having a hard enough time. Some more bad stuff about to go down.”
Scaramucci told Kilmeade on Friday that he thought Scully’s tweet was real, prompting his own response Thursday night. He also tweeted later Friday that he has taken Scully’s hacking claim “at his word,” adding, “Let’s not cancel anymore [sic] people from our culture for absolutely something like this. It’s insignificant. He is an objective journalist.”
Scully’s credibility as an unbiased debate moderator was initially questioned after it became known that he previously worked as an intern for then-Sen. Biden and served as a staffer for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.
During the 2016 campaign, Scully shared a New York Times op-ed headlined, “No, Not Trump, Not Ever.”