C-SPAN host Steve Scully‘s Twitter account appeared to have been deleted Friday as the moderator for next week’s scheduled second presidential debate faces intense scrutiny over a viral tweet in which he appeared to reach out to outspoken Trump foe Anthony Scaramucci.
The tweet from the “Washington Journal” host’s account Thursday night read, “@Scaramucci should I respond to trump” and was deleted a short time later. Scaramucci, a former White House communications director in the Trump administration, has become a vocal supporter of Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Both the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) and C-SPAN have issued statements claiming Scully didn’t actually send that tweet.
C-SPAN’s statement said Scully “did not originate the tweet” and added that the CPD was investigating the incident “with the help of authorities.” In its own statement, CPD said it “it had reported the apparent hack to the FBI and Twitter” as part of its investigation.
A spokesperson for Twitter told Fox News “We’ve no comment” when asked to confirm whether or not Scully’s account was hacked. Twitter also did not immediately respond to Fox News’ inquiry about whether Scully deleted his own account or if Twitter had taken it down as part of a potential investigation.
Scully himself has not publicly commented.
Critics who remain skeptical of Scully’s “hack” claim dug up old tweets Friday showing him blaming hackers for other tweets that were made on his account.
In May 2012, Scully appeared apologetic about tweets concerning weight loss.
“I apologize for Saturday’s tweets regarding weight loss, etc. I still have my day job at C-SPAN…darn those hackers. Have a great Sunday,” Scully wrote.
In another tweet from March 2013, Scully apologizes for posts that were sent by his Twitter account, though it is unclear what the content was in those tweets.
“I apologize for some earlier TWEETS…account was hacked…those tweets did not come from me. Thanks all for alerting me. SS,” Scully wrote at the time.
C-SPAN did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
The CPD had selected Scully to host the second presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden that was scheduled for Oct. 15. However, the status of future debates is unclear after Trump pulled out of the showdown following the CPD’s announcement that it would be virtual. 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” Friday morning.
“Steve is a man of great integrity, okay?” 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.”