Speed Reads

last night on late night

Fox News' Chris Wallace tells Stephen Colbert nobody's buying the GOP's pre-existing conditions line

Stephen Colbert welcomed Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Thursday's Late Show, and they began their good-natured sparring on the upcoming midterms. Wallace said there have been big midterm elections before, like the 2010 and 1994 GOP waves, where health care was a huge topic. "And this time, strangely," Colbert said, lots of Republicans are "running on the fact that they'll save your health care, that they'll save your being covered by pre-existing conditions — when just seconds ago, they were doing everything they could to strip all of that out of the law. Are people believing that?"

"No," Wallace said, laughing, and "it is a problem for Republicans, because they ran on 'repeal and replace'" and "particularly weaken the pre-existing condition factor, and so Republicans are getting their tails whipped on that subject. And as a result, they're trying to change the subject, and that's why you see the president talking so much about immigration and the caravan about to invade America." "About to?" Colbert laughed. "They're careening toward us at foot speed."

They got into a spirited argument on the merits of President Trump's immigration policies. Wallace said he wouldn't attack Trump, but when Colbert asked about Trump's "enemy of the people" slander, Wallace said he believes vilifying the press is a massive threat to American democracy and Trump is "undermining the Constitution."

Wallace has a little media criticism. "I do think that the press has made a mistake, in some cases, in taking the president's bait and overreacting to it, and sometimes playing his game," he said. "We are not in his game. We shouldn't fight fire with fire. His job is to be a disrupter — and you call him whatever you want to call him — our job is to be reporters." They argued over the appropriateness of a Washington Post headline, and Wallace had to eat a bit of crow. You can watch that below. Peter Weber