C-SPAN has suspended longtime political editor and senior executive producer Steve Scully indefinitely for lying that his Twitter feed was hacked last week.
“I falsely claimed that my Twitter account had been hacked. These were both errors in judgment for which I am totally responsible. I ask for [my colleagues’] forgiveness as I try to move forward in a moment of reflection and disappointment in myself,” he said in a statement.
A week ago, Scully tweeted, “@Scaramucci should I respond to Trump” when the president attacked the editor as a “Never Trumper.” Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s short-lived comms director, advised ignoring the commander in chief.
Trump gleefully tweeted in response to the executive’s suspension, “I was right again! Steve Scully just admitted he was lying about his Twitter being hacked. 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?”
Meanwhile, Scaramucci expressed disappointment in the outcome. “Brutal outcome for a silly non political tweet. Nothing objectionable. Cancel culture going too far,” he tweeted.
Scully would have been the moderator of the second presidential debate between Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden set to take place Thursday, but the president withdrew from it.
When Scully came under fire for the exchange, C-SPAN defended him, accepting the excuse that someone had gained unauthorized access to his account. The Commission on Presidential Debates said the hack was reported to the FBI.
A spokesperson for C-SPAN said in a statement Thursday, “We were very saddened by this news and do not condone his actions.” Scully has worked at the political broadcaster for nearly 30 years.
Scully has used the hacking defense before. In 2012 and 2013, he apologized for tweets about weight loss, among other things, saying, “Darn those hackers.”
Former Trump White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who, along with George W. Bush’s former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, was among Scully’s staunchest defenders when the controversy erupted last week, told The Daily Beast, “I’m not happy about it because people are pointing out that those of us who vouched for him were wrong. I know what it is like to be under attack so you want to stand up for the people you believe in.”
“I’m always going to stand up for good people,” he added. “He’s a good person who, it sounds like, didn’t do the right thing. People make mistakes and they get jammed up. I’ll be interested to hear the whole story. Hopefully this is something he can learn from, ask forgiveness, and move on.”
Lloyd Grove contributed reporting.