C-SPAN political editor Steve Scully has been placed on indefinite "administrative leave" after he admitted to lying about his Twitter feed being hacked, the cable network announced Thursday.
Scully – who was slated to host the second presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, before it was canceled – claimed he was hacked after a tweet on his official account asked Trump critic Anthony Scaramucci how to respond to criticism.
"@Scaramucci should I respond to trump," Scully wrote Oct. 8 in response to the president dubbing him a "Never Trumper." The tweet tagged the president's former communications director, who has become a critic of Trump since his brief stint at the White House.
After the tweet sparked backlash the following morning over its clear bias, Scully claimed his Twitter account had been hacked. C-SPAN and the Commission on Presidential Debates backed Scully's claims.
C-SPAN says Steve Scully's Twitter account hacked as 2nd presidential debate moderator tweet called biased
On Thursday, however, Scully admitted to making "errors in judgement" and apologized to C-SPAN.
"Out of frustration, I sent a brief tweet addressed to Anthony Scaramucci. The next morning when I saw that this tweet had created a new controversy, I falsely claimed that my Twitter account had been hacked," he said in a statement.
Scully said he let down his colleagues at C-SPAN, fellow news professionals and the debate commission. “I ask for their forgiveness as I try to move forward in a moment of reflection and disappointment in myself,” he said.
C-SPAN said Scully first came clean about lying about the Twitter hack on Wednesday.
"He understands that he made a serious mistake," the network told the Associated Press, which broke the news about Scully's suspension. "We were very saddened by this news and do not condone his actions."
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?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2020
Trump took to Twitter to react to the news, maintaining his claims that the "debate was rigged."
"I was right again!" he tweeted. "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?"
Scully was supposed to host the second presidential debate in Miami, scheduled for tonight, but the commission canceled the event one day after Trump refused to take part because it was changed to a virtual format.
The commission opted to have the debate remotely to "protect the health and safety of all involved" after Trump's positive COVID-19 diagnosis and the subsequent White House outbreak.
"I’m not Joe Biden. I’m not going to do a virtual debate," the president told Sean Hannity last week.
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Scully has led the network’s presidential election coverage since 1992, but the suspension means he won’t be part of C-SPAN’s election night programming this year. He has been the moderator of the weekly call-in program “Washington Journal” and regularly hosted other C-SPAN programs.
The network said Scully has consistently demonstrated fairness and professionalism, and has built a reservoir of good will.
“After some distance from this episode, we believe in his ability to continue to contribute to C-SPAN,” the network said.
Contributing: USA TODAY's William Cummings, The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Steve Scully suspended by C-Span for lying about Twitter hack