A tweet seeking advice from a prominent critic of the Trump administration appeared Thursday night on the Twitter account of Steve Scully, the C-SPAN host who is scheduled to moderate an upcoming presidential debate, producing criticism from Republicans who have already questioned Scully’s partisanship.
But C-SPAN said Friday that the tweet did not come from Scully, and quoted him saying he believes his Twitter account had been hacked.
“Steve Scully did not originate the tweet and believes his account has been hacked,” C-SPAN said in a statement.
The tweet solicited advice from former White House adviser Anthony Scaramucci, according to the network, though the context of the discussion was not clear. It asked the question: “should I respond to trump.” Scaramucci briefly worked as an adviser to President Donald Trump and has since become a vocal critic. The tweet has since been deleted.
Scully has not offered any evidence the account was hacked other than the tweet itself. A spokesperson for Twitter declined to comment. The FBI also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Twitter users noted on Friday that Scully has said at least once before, in 2013, that his Twitter account was hacked.
Scully, C-SPAN’s political editor, is a veteran political journalist who has worked for the nonprofit TV service since 1990. While he is generally considered by his peers to be nonpartisan, Scully has been the focus of growing attacks from Trump supporters who noted that he served as an intern for Joe Biden when he was a senator in the late 1970s.
Scaramucci initially responded to the tweet, offering advice to ignore the president, though it was unclear about what. Later, Scaramucci said he believed Scully’s statement that the original tweet wasn’t his.
“I accept @SteveScully at his word,” he tweeted. “Let’s not cancel anymore people from our culture for absolutely something like this. It’s insignificant. He is an objective journalist.”
The original tweet drew a response from Trump, who accused the journalist of bias. “Steve Scully, the second Debate Moderator, is a Never Trumper, just like the son of the great Mike Wallace. Fix!!!” Trump said on Twitter.
C-SPAN said that the alleged hack was under investigation by the Commission on Presidential Debates with the help of authorities. “When additional information is available, we will release it,” the network said.
Frank Fahrenkopf, a co-chairman of the commission, said during an interview on Fox News Radio’s “The Brian Kilmeade Show” that he also believed Scully was hacked.
“Steve is a man of great integrity, OK?” Fahrenkopf said, according to Fox News. “I don’t know this question about whether he tweeted something out or not. I do know, and you’ll probably pick up on it in a minute, that he was hacked… He was hacked. It didn’t happen.”
It remains unclear whether the second presidential debate will occur. The Commission on Presidential Debates, a bipartisan group that has organized the events for decades, proposed holding next week’s debate virtually because of Trump’s infection with Covid-19, but Trump has rejected that idea.