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Presidential debate: Opponents to be muted during initial responses so they can't interrupt

The Presidential debate commission announced the decision on Monday, much to Donald Trump's dismay.

Presidential debate: Opponents to be muted during initial responses so they can't interrupt
Image Source: Getty Images/ Donald Trump And Joe Biden Participate In First Presidential Debate. (Photo by Scott Olson)

Learning from the first Presidential debate between Democratic candidate Joe Biden and incumbent President Donald Trump, the Presidential debate commission has decided to mute the candidates during initial responses so opponents cannot interrupt each other. The decision was announced by the Commission on Presidential Debates. There is going to be a second and final Presidential debate before Election Day on November 3. Scheduled for October 22, it will be the last opportunity both candidates have to reach American voters. While Trump initially chose not to participate in a virtual debate, he has since evidently backtracked. He is nonetheless unhappy about the recent announcement, CNN reports.



"I'll participate," he told reporters when asked about the change on Monday. "I just think it's very unfair." From the commission's perspective, however, this is not a change at all. A source close to the commission confirmed that the decision was unanimous and stressed that, in fact, "this is not a change to rules but rather a move to promote adherence to rules that have been agreed to by both campaigns." The source claimed, "A change to the rules would have required protracted and ultimately, in our view, unworkable negotiations between the two campaigns."




Like Trump himself, his campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh criticized the move and accused the commission of attempting to "provide advantage to their favored candidate." Regardless of the change, Murtaugh affirmed that the incumbent President still intends to debate Biden. The commission's statement forecasted this response from the Trump campaign, as evidenced in their statement. "We realize, after discussions with both campaigns, that neither campaign may be totally satisfied with the measures announced today," it reads. "One may think they go too far, and one may think they do not go far enough. 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."




For those who plan to watch the debate and are curious about how the debate will now work, both candidates will receive "two minutes of uninterrupted time to make remarks at the beginning of each 15-minute segment of the debate." This will be followed by "a period of open discussion," during which Biden and Trump's mics will be unmuted. The commission stated, "Both campaigns this week again reaffirmed their agreement to the two-minute, uninterrupted rule... 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. As in the past, the moderator will apportion roughly equal amounts of time between the two speakers over the course of the 90 minutes. Time taken up during any interruptions will be returned to the other candidate." This will perhaps come as a relief to viewers who wish to see their candidates engage meaningfully with each other and the topics of the night: Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security, and Leadership.



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