C-SPAN placed political editor Steve Scully on administrative leave Thursday after he made false statements about his Twitter account being hacked.
Scully, in a statement, admitted that he lied about making a statement to Anthony Scaramucci, a former aide to President Donald Trump who became a critic. “I am totally responsible” for the post, he said.
He was selected to moderate a now-canceled town hall event with Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. But a Twitter post last week sent from his account indicated that he reached out to Scaramucci before later saying that he was hacked. “Should I respond to Trump” is what he wrote to Scaramucci’s account. “Ignore. He is having a hard enough time. Some more bad stuff about to go down,” Scaramucci replied.
C-SPAN and the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) both mounted a defense of Scully. The commission later said that an investigation is underway.
However, C-SPAN, in a statement on Thursday, said that Scully “made us and the Commission aware of this new information late Wednesday.” It added that “by not being immediately forthcoming” to the two, Scully “understands that he made a serious mistake,” according to the statement.
But the company indicated that he would not be fired from his job.
“Starting immediately, we have placed Steve on administrative leave,” the firm said. “After some distance from this episode, we believe in his ability to continue to contribute to C-SPAN.”
C-SPAN included a statement from Scully.
“Out of frustration I sent a brief tweet addressed to Anthony Scaramucci,” Scully said in a statement. “The next morning when I saw that this tweet had created a new controversy, I falsely claimed that my Twitter account had been hacked.”
He also complained of having been attacked on social media and in “conservative news outlets” about his moderating the debate ahead of time and reacted accordingly.
Scully was originally chosen to be the moderator for the second presidential debate, which was canceled.
Scully’s credibility as an unbiased debate moderator was questioned beforehand after it was revealed that he worked as an intern for Biden when he was a senator from Delaware. He also worked as a staffer for former Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. During the 2016 campaign, Scully posted a New York Times opinion article from David Brooks, titled, “No, Not Trump, Not Ever.”
The town hall was ultimately canceled after Trump contracted the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus last month and was hospitalized for several days. He later said that he wouldn’t attend a virtual debate with Biden that was proposed by the commission.
Biden agreed to appear in a town hall on ABC, and Trump will partake in a separate town hall airing at the same time on Thursday on NBC.
Scaramucci served as a spokesman for the White House for a brief spell in 2017 but later became a critic of Trump and his administration.