C-SPAN has suspended its political editor Steve Scully indefinitely after he admitted to lying about his Twitter feed being hacked when he was criticised for an exchange he had with former Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci.
Last Friday, after president Donald Trump criticised Scully as a “never Trumper,” the political editor tweeted: “@Scaramucci should I respond to Trump,” but Mr Scaramucci, the former White House communications director turned critic of the president, advised him against the idea.
Scully, who has worked at C-SPAN for 30 years, was scheduled to moderate the second presidential debate on Thursday, but it was cancelled after President Trump refused to agree to a virtual format, following his Covid-19 diagnosis, according to the Associated Press.
After Scully woke up last Saturday to see his tweet had caused controversy, he claimed that his account had been hacked, but on Wednesday the journalist admitted to the network that he had “falsely” claimed that his “Twitter account had been hacked”.
Responding to the news on Thursday, Mr Trump tweeted: “I was right again! Steve Scully just admitted he was lying about his Twitter being hacked.”
He then falsely claimed: “The Debate was Rigged! He was suspended from @cspan indefinitely. The Trump Campaign was not treated fairly by the ‘Commission’. Did I show good instincts in being the first to know?”
Scully said that in the weeks leading up to his exchange with Mr Scaramucci, he became frustrated with comments made by Mr Trump and his supporters on social media that were directed at him, but also members of his family.
In a statement released after his suspension was announced, Scully apologised for both the Twitter exchange and lying about the hack, saying: “These were both errors in judgement for which I am totally responsible for.”
He added: “These actions have let down a lot of people, including my colleagues at C-SPAN, where I have worked for the past 30 years, professional colleagues in the media, and the team at the Commission on Presidential Debates.
“I ask for their forgiveness as I try to move forward in a moment of reflection and disappointment in myself.”
Scully has led the network’s presidential election coverage since 1992, but will be absent for 3 November’s election due to his suspension.
“He understands that he made a serious mistake,” C-SPAN said in a statement on Thursday. “We were very saddened by this news and do not condone his actions.”
The network added that “after some distance from this episode, we believe in his ability to continue to contribute to C-SPAN.”