Supporters of Donald Trump are in overdrive (with a little help from Russian bots) trying to discredit Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.
Shortly after he moderated the first 2020 presidential debate on Sept. 29, posts appeared on Facebook claiming to show Wallace with Jeffrey Epstein, the late disgraced financer who pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges involving dozens of underage girls in 2019.
Some users say the image was taken on Little St. James, the private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands once owned by Epstein.
Both claims are false: the image shows Wallace vacationing with actor George Clooney in Italy in 2012.
In Aug. 2012, Wallace and his wife Lorraine Martin Smothers joined Clooney and his then-girlfriend Stacy Keibler on a vacation at Clooney’s home in Northern Italy’s Lake Como.
A Politico clip of Wallace describing the trip can be seen here, with the image featured in the Facebook posts appearing around the 25-second mark.
Describing their time as “great food, great wine, and great talk,” Wallace, who has hosted Fox News Sunday since 2003, said that he and Clooney, an outspoken liberal “could disagree agreeably” and both found that the “demonization of the other side is a very unhealthy thing in our politics today.”
Clooney has owned his Italian villa in the town of Lagio since 2002. Two years after buying the property, he was made an honorary citizen in the nearby town of Como.
So, the images being circulated by Trump supporters does not show Chris Wallace with Jeffrey Epstein, nor was it taken at Epstein’s private Caribbean island.
The image shows Wallace on an Italian vacation with George Clooney in 2012.
As for his party registration, in 2016 Wallace told The Hollywood Reporter this:
“I’m pretty independent, but I’m a registered Democrat because where I live, in Washington, D.C., the only elections that count are the Democratic primaries. But I’ve voted for Democrats and Republicans for president.”
Wallace remains one of the top political journalists in America, despite being on a network slanted toward Republicans.