Steve Scully, political editor at C-SPAN, has been suspended indefinitely after he admitted to lying about his Twitter account getting hacked, the network announced Thursday.
Scully, who had been set to moderate the second presidential debate that was due to take place virtually on Thursday night prior to President Donald Trump pulling out, admitted to "errors in judgment."
On Oct. 8, the veteran Washington reporter tweeted a message at former White House communications chief Anthony Scaramucci, asking whether he should respond to claims from Trump that Scully was biased against him.
But the message was public and soon went viral, held up by conservatives that Scully was colluding with Scaramucci, who is now a vocal Trump critic. (It is not uncommon, however, for reporters to communicate privately with politicians from all parties.)
To try to cover his tracks, Scully said his account had been hacked — something he now admits was false.
"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," Scully said in a statement. "I ask for their forgiveness as I try to move forward in a moment of reflection and disappointment in myself."
C-SPAN, which had previously defended Scully, said he understood had made a "serious mistake."
"We are very saddened by this news and do not condone his actions," a network spokesperson said.
Scully will now not present the network's coverage on election night.
As journalist Yashar Ali observed last week, it's not the first time Scully has claimed his account was hacked.
The news of Scully being placed on administrative leave was first reported by the Associated Press.
"Brutal outcome for a silly non political tweet. Nothing objectionable," said Scaramucci on Twitter. "Cancel culture going too far."
After a spectacularly aggressive performance in the first debate that saw him frequently interrupt Joe Biden, Trump immediately sought to blame Fox News moderator Chris Wallace for being biased against him.
The president and his supporters in Congress pointed to Scully's actions as evidence of bias.
The moderator of the vice presidential debate, USA Today's Susan Page, was criticized from the left for holding a celebration event in 2018 honoring Seema Verma, who serves in the Trump administration as the administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
In lieu of the second debate, Biden agreed to appear in a town hall on ABC. Trump, after recovering from the coronavirus, is participating in a rival town hall airing at the same time Thursday on NBC.