USA election 2020: Trump and Biden feud over debate topics

Joanna Estrada
October 20, 2020

No changes have been made to the debate rules, but media reports have indicated the commission has considered whether to cut off candidates' microphones if they break the rules.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump in the first presidential debate.

In a statement announcing the decision, the debate commission said they determined it was "appropriate to adopt measures meant to promote adherence to agreed upon rules".

The Biden campaign had been pushing to make changes after the debacle of the first debate in Ohio.

"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.

"For the good of campaign integrity and for the benefit of the American people, we urge you to rethink and reissue a set of topics for the October 22 debate, with an emphasis on foreign policy", Stepien wrote in the letter, which was dated Monday and posted on his Twitter account.

Microphones will be muted at times during the third and final presidential debate between US President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Moderator Chris Wallace had to implore the president to stop interjecting as Mr Biden was speaking. "Both campaigns this week again reaffirmed their agreement to the two-minute, uninterrupted rule".

"Your side agreed to it, and why don't you observe what your campaign agreed to as a ground rule?"

Mr Biden was less diplomatic.

On Monday, the president's camp sent a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates calling for topics to be adjusted for the final primetime duel this Thursday.

The 90-minute debate is being split into six 15-minute segments.

Mr Trump and Mr Biden will face questions on coronavirus, families, racism, climate change, national security and their leadership, though the Trump campaign is unhappy with the choice of topics.

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.

"As usual, the president is more concerned with the rules of a debate than he is getting a nation in crisis the help it needs".

The Biden campaign said the commission should stick to the plan the candidates' teams agreed to earlier this year. Campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told CNN in a statement after the first debate that the commission "shouldn't be moving the goalposts and changing the rules in the middle of the game".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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