The Commission on Presidential Debates has adopted new rules to mute microphones to allow Donald Trump and Joe Biden 2 minutes of uninterrupted time per segment.
The commission is responding to the first face-off between Trump and Biden which was marred by frequent interruptions by the president and mud-slinging.
In a statement following the presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio, the commission said the event “made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.”
The campaigns were informed of the new rules, which were not subject to negotiation.
Trump and his aides have signaled deep hostility to any outside control of the candidates’ microphones during the debates.
The Thursday debate in Nashville, to be moderated by Kristen Welker of NBC News, marks the final meeting of the campaign between Trump and Biden.
Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien asked the commission earlier today to refocus Thursday’s debate on the subject of foreign policy, rather than the six subjects announced by Welker.
They are “fighting Covid-19,” “American families,” “race in America,” climate change, national security and leadership.
Stepien said it had “promised” that the debate would be about foreign policy and accused the commission of “pro-Biden antics” that “have turned the entire debate season into a fiasco.”
A Biden spokesman, T. J. Ducklo, said earlier today that Stepien sent the letter “because Donald Trump is afraid to face more questions about his disastrous Covid response.”
“The campaigns and the commission agreed months ago that the debate moderator would choose the topics,” Ducklo said in a statement.