01 Oct 2020
US Presidential debate rules to change after Trump-Biden spat
The commission that oversees United States Presidential debates has said that it will change the debate format after a chaotic face-off between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
Reportedly, the updated format will include cutting a candidate's microphone if they interrupt their opponent.
The decision comes as Tuesday's debate saw both Trump and Biden trading insults and talking over each other.
Commission to announce new rules to 'maintain order' during debates
The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD)—a nonpartisan body that has organized Presidential debates since 1988—said that it will announce new rules to help "maintain order" during the remaining two debates.
The CPD said that the first debate on Tuesday "made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues."
Controlling candidates' mics a priority
The CPD would spend the next 48 hours drafting new guidelines for the second Presidential debate, due to be held on October 15, CBS News reported citing sources.
Reportedly, controlling a candidate's microphone is a priority among the new set of rules.
The source told the publication that both campaign teams will be informed about the rules, however, a negotiation will not be allowed.
Trump's campaign criticizes CPD's decision
Trump's campaign communications director, Tim Murtaugh, criticized the commission's decision saying, "They are only doing this because their guy got pummelled."
Murtaugh described the chaotic debate as a "free exchange of ideas."
Meanwhile, Kate Bedingfield, deputy manager for Biden's campaign, said the former US Vice President would participate "under whatever set of rules the commission develops to try to contain Donald Trump's behavior."
Never dreamed debate would go off-track as it did: Moderator
During the first debate, each candidate was given two minutes to answer the moderator questions and was then allowed to address each other's responses.
Trump and Biden continued to talk over each other repeatedly, with the President interrupting the latter 73 times.
Moderator Chris Wallace told The New York Times that he "never dreamed it would go off the tracks the way it did."
Debate was hugely criticized across the world
Both participants, along with the moderator, were criticized across the globe over the debate.
However, the highlight was Trump's refusal to explicitly condemn white supremacists during the debate.
When asked to do so, Trump asked the moderator to give him a name. When Biden said "Proud Boys"—a far-right, anti-immigrant, all-male group with a history of violence—Trump said, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by."
Trump faced further criticism over 'stand by' remark
The "stand by" remark was interpreted by Proud Boys members as support.
Trump backtracked on his statement at a news conference saying, "I don't know who they are. I can only say they have to stand down and let law enforcement do their work."
Meanwhile, Biden tweeted on Wednesday, "The US President refused to disavow white supremacists on the debate stage last night."
- Donald Trump