Debate Commission Will Mute Trump, Biden While Opponent Speaks
CPD determined 'that it is appropriate to adopt measures'
The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has said they will mute President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden when each opponent speaks to the floor and their opponents.
In a statement, the commission said it "had determined that it is appropriate to adopt measures intended to promote adherence to agreed-upon rules and inappropriate to make changes to those rules.”
There will also be an open discussion forum in the debate, which won't include the mute option.
The upcoming debate on Thursday will consist of six 15-minute segments and totaling 90 minutes.
The initial debate last month drew criticism because of interruption between candidates.
Earlier this month Trump refused to participate in a virtual debate as suggested by The Commission on Presidential Debates.
CPD Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf said the nonpartisan group’s decision would not be changed, Associated Press reported.
The outlet then predicted the debate was "probably not going to happen at all."
Following Trump's positive coronavirus diagnosis, the commission decided to make the upcoming debate virtual.
The Trump campaign blasted the new rule, urging the commission to include more discussion of foreign policy.
"President Trump is committed to debating Joe Biden regardless of last-minute rule changes from the biased commission in their latest attempt to provide advantage to their favored candidate," read a statement from campaign manager Bill Stepien.
Stepien also accused the commission of adding a broader pattern of "pro-Biden antics" with its choice of topics.
The upcoming debate topics include:
Race in America
The Biden campaign responded to Stepien's letter by suggesting that he was lying.
"The campaigns and the Commission agreed months ago that the debate moderator would choose the topics,” National Press Secretary TJ Ducklo said in a statement.
“The Trump campaign is lying about that now because Donald Trump is afraid to face more questions about his disastrous COVID response."
"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."
Deputy Communications Director for the Trump campaign, Ali Pardo, said:
"Over the past several months, the CPD [Commission on Presidential Debates] verbally confirmed on multiple occasions that the third debate would have a foreign policy focus."
The "mute button" was suggested by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., stating it would be necessary for another debate to take place.
"Maybe we should give the moderator a mute button, given how President Trump just interrupts at will," Schumer said.
"And the bottom line is Donald Trump doesn't follow the rules [and] the commission has got to get a lot tougher."
But Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., argued the mute button would give he moderator too much power.
"If you are going to run for the free leader of this world, we want to hear what you have to say, but now we're going to allow one person to moderate it to determine what the American people can hear from our candidates?" he said.