The United States Commission on Presidential Debates on Wednesday said it would make changes to the debate format after the first one between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden was chaotic and full of interruons, CNN reported.
“The Commission on Presidential Debates sponsors televised debates for the benefit of the American electorate,” the commission said in a statement. “Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.” The commission said it was “grateful to [the moderator] Chris Wallace for the professionalism and skill he brought to last night’s debate.”
The commission did not indicate what changes it was considering making. However, it said that it would be “carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly.”
Unidentified officials told AP that one modification being discussed was to give the moderator the ability to cut off the microphone of one of the debate participants while their opponent was talking.
During the debate between Trump and Biden, moderator Chris Wallace struggled to control the discussion because of frequent interruons, primarily by the president. Trump also ignored requests from Wallace to stick to his allotted time. At one point, a frustrated Biden told the president, “Will you shut up, man?”
The candidates interrupted Wallace or each other 90 times in the 90-minute debate, of which 71 interruons were by Trump, according to The Washington Post.
Biden on Wednesday said the way Trump behaved during the debate was “a national embarrassment.”
I’m not going to speculate on what happens in the second or third debate – my hope is that they’re able to literally – say the question gets asked of Trump, he has a microphone, he has two minutes, no one else has the microphone, and then I don’t know what the rules are going to be. That seems to me to make some sense.
— Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden
The next presidential debate is scheduled for October 15 in Miami, Florida. C-SPAN Networks’ Steve Scully will act as the moderator. During the debate, citizens will ask the candidates questions.
He [Joe Biden] is going to continue speaking directly to the American people. The next debate is a town hall format where real voters are going to have the chance to engage the candidate.Biden obviously relishes any opportunity to talk directly to real voters, that’s something that he prioritises doing on the campaign trail.
— Joe Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield
Trump campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh said that the commission “shouldn’t be moving the goalposts and changing the rules in the middle of the game.”
“They’re only doing this because their guy got pummelled last night,” he alleged. “President Trump was the dominant force and now Joe Biden is trying to work the refs.”
The 90-minute debate on Monday night – at local time – covered a number of key topics including the Covid-19 crisis, climate change, the US economy, and Trump’s tax returns. At several moments over the course of the debate, Wallace had to yell over the US president and request that he stop interrung. On one of these occasions, in fact, Trump interrupted Wallace just as he was asking the president to stop interrung.