Second Trump-Biden Debate To Feature A 'Mute' Button, Organizers Say

Elias Hubbard
October 20, 2020

Donald Trump's re-election campaign lashed out at the Commission on Presidential Debates about the topics and potential rule changes for the president's final face-off against Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

To avoid another disorderly match-up between the two United States presidential hopefuls, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) will now mute the microphone of one candidate in order to allow the other to speak without interruption, it announced on Monday.

After each has had their two minutes, open discussion will be allowed and both candidates' microphones will be on.

Trump pulled out of what was supposed to be the second debate with Biden, scheduled for October 15, after the commission decided it would be conducted virtually because of the president's Covid-19 diagnosis on October 1.

Mr. Trump had balked at its proposal for a virtual format after he tested positive for COVID-19 several days after the September 29 debate.

He also reiterated a complaint he made earlier Monday that the debate was supposed to be focused on foreign policy, but that the list of topics had been changed to help Biden avoid responding to questions about the business dealings of his son Hunter. At that time, he raised concerns about having his microphone muted.

"I just hope there's a way in which the debate commission can control the ability of us to answer the questions without interruptions", Biden said the day after the first debate.

While the upcoming debate was meant to be the third in the series, the tentative match-up is set to be the second and final time voters will see the two presidential hopefuls argue for their platforms before the November 3 election.

Almost 30 million early voters have already cast their ballots, compared with just six million at this point before the last presidential election in 2016.

Biden had made clear that he wanted the debate commission to change the rules, and said the way Trump conducted himself at the first debate was a "national embarrassment".

What did the Trump campaign say about the debate?

Moderator Kristen Welker of NBC released the six topics for the debate Friday through the commission.

"The Commission's pro-Biden antics have turned the entire debate season into a fiasco", campaign manager Bill Stepien wrote in a two-page letter.

Biden's campaign said both sides has previously agreed to let the moderators choose the subjects. "The Trump campaign is lying about that now because Donald Trump is afraid to face more questions about his disastrous Covid response".

The commission said both campaigns "this week again reaffirmed their agreement to the two-minute, uninterrupted rule", adding that the measures weren't a change of the rules, but were meant to make sure the existing rules were enforced.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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