Would-be US debate moderator suspended over tweet

©Agence France-Presse

Steve Scully is seen at right in a 2009 photo

New York (AFP) - A journalist tapped to moderate the second debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden has been suspended over lying about his Twitter account being hacked, his news outlet said Thursday.

C-SPAN journalist Steve Scully, who was to be the moderator of the debate in Miami -- until it was called off -- was suspended indefinitely after news of his actions were revealed, according to the congressional cable channel.

The debate was scrapped after organizers switched to a virtual format, citing Trump's recent coronavirus infection. The president refused to accept the arrangement.

Scully had been accused by the president of being a "never Trumper," and the journalist then engaged in a tweet exchange with Anthony Scaramucci, a former Trump aide who is now a vocal critic of the White House.

Scully tweeted "@Scaramucci should I respond to Trump" and the former official said to ignore it.

The journalist denied sending the tweet and claimed his account had been hacked before an investigation by the channel showed otherwise.

Scully was placed on administrative leave, C-SPAN said.

Trump appeared to celebrate the news, tweeting: "I was right again! Steve Scully just admitted he was lying about his Twitter being hacked. The Debate was Rigged!"