Trump and Biden will have their microphones muted for sections of the next presidential debateBy Mark Pygas
Oct. 20 2020, Updated 9:08 a.m. ET
After the first presidential debate turned into a shouting match, the Commission on Presidential Debates has announced that President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will have their microphones muted for sections of the final presidential debate on Thursday. The candidates will have their microphones muted while their opponent delivers initial two-minute answers to each debate topic. During open-discussion segments of the debate, both microphones will stay on.
“We realize, after discussions with both campaigns, that neither campaign may be totally satisfied with the measures announced today," the commission said in a statement. "One may think they go too far, and one may think they do not go far enough. We are comfortable that these actions strike the right balance and that they are in the interest of the American people, for whom these debates are held.”
Speaking to reporters, President Trump suggested that the change was unfair, but that he would still take part in the debate. I'll participate. I just think it’s very unfair," Trump said.
Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, was also unhappy with the change. In a statement, Stepien also questioned why foreign police was not a section of the debate.
“President Trump is committed to debating Joe Biden regardless of last-minute rule changes from the biased commission in their latest attempt to provide an advantage to their favored candidate,” Stepien said in a statement. “This was supposed to be the foreign policy debate, so the President still looks forward to forcing Biden to answer the number one relevant question of whether he’s been compromised by the Communist Party of China.”
“The campaigns and the Commission agreed months ago that the debate moderator would choose the topics,” said TJ Ducklo, the Biden campaign’s national spokesman. “The Trump campaign is lying about that now because Donald Trump is afraid to face more questions about his disastrous Covid response.”