Trump campaign cries foul on final debate topics

Elias Hubbard
October 22, 2020

Under the new rules, each candidate will have their microphone cut off during the initial two-minute answer period to allow their opponent to answer a question uninterrupted on each of the six topics that will be discussed during the debate.

"We realize, after discussions with both campaigns, that neither campaign may be totally satisfied with the measures announced today", the Commission on Presidential Debates said in statement. CBS News is reporting that the CPD responded by saying the listed topics for Thursday's debate were chosen by moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News and include "Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change and National Security Leadership".

The campaign has also slammed the commission's decision, announced on Monday, to mute the candidates during portions of the debate when the other candidate is speaking - a response to the chaotic first debate in Cleveland, Ohio that often devolved into a shouting match.

The Biden campaign disputed Stepien's letter, noting that foreign policy was never promised as the theme of the final debate.

Trump, for his part, has continued to attack the framework of the debate, while accusing moderator Welker of being a "radical left Democrat" during a rally in Arizona on Monday. "She's been screaming questions at me for a long time, and she's no good", he said.

"I'll participate. I just think it's very unfair", he said.

In a call with reporters this earlier month, however, Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller called Welker "very fair in her approach", predicting she would do an "excellent job".

Prior to Trump pulling out of the second presidential debate that was originally scheduled October 15, after the CPD announced that it would be virtual in light of the President's COVID-19 diagnosis earlier this month, Miller said that he has a "very high opinion" of Welker and that she will "do an excellent job as the moderator for the third debate".

When he spoke earlier, Stepien also addressed the commission's consideration of cutting mics to prevent a repeat of the first debate.

"Both campaigns this week again reaffirmed their agreement to the two-minute, uninterrupted rule", the CPD said in a statement.

The president is trailing in opinion polls both of the nation as a whole and in most key battleground states, though he has insisted he has his own internal polls showing otherwise. The candidates instead were featured in dueling prime-time town hall events on separate US TV networks.

The final debate is set to start at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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