Commission to mute Trump, Biden mics during next debate

Their Sept. 29 debate devolved into a shouting match, with Trump frequently interrupting Biden.

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Monday that it will allow the microphones of each participant to be muted during some portions of this week’s final debate.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump will spar on Thursday night during their second debate, set for 9 p.m. EST at Belmont University in Nashville, moderated by NBC News’ Kristen Welker. The decision is likely to anger the president, who backed out of what was their second scheduled meetup after being treated for coronavirus and refusing to participate in a virtual debate against Biden.

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the Sept. 29 presidential debate, moderated by Chris Wallace, a chaotic event described by CNN’s Dana Bash as “a sh*tshow.” (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

When asked about the change, Trump confirmed that he would participate. “I just think it’s very unfair,” he added.

Tim Murtaugh, Trump’s campaign communications director, called the decision an “attempt to provide an advantage to their favored candidate.”

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However, in a statement announcing the decision, the commission wrote, “We realize, after discussions with both campaigns, that neither campaign may be totally satisfied with the measures announced today.”

“One may think they go too far, and one may think they do not go far enough,” it continued. “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.”

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The first presidential debate on Sept. 29, moderated by Fox News veteran Chris Wallace, devolved into a shouting match, with Trump frequently interrupting Biden.

The chaotic event was described by CNN’s Dana Bash as “a sh*tshow.”

According to CNN, during Thursday’s final face-off, each candidate will be given two minutes to answer an initial question. During that portion, the opposing candidate’s microphone will be muted.

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That segment will be followed by “a period of open discussion.”

“During the times dedicated for open discussion, it is the hope of the Commission that the candidates will be respectful of each other’s time, which will advance civil discourse for the benefit of the viewing public,” the group’s statement reads.

The six topics for the final presidential debate are slated to be “Fighting COVID-19,” “American Families,” “Race in America,” “Climate Change,” “National Security” and “Leadership.”

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