Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s microphones will be off during part of Thursday’s debate. The measure aims to prevent candidates from being interrupted when one is answering a question.
The measure was announced on Monday by the Presidential Debate Commission (CDP) that aims to prevent, as the New York Times writes, “the undisciplined spectacle that occurred at the first meeting between the candidates in Cleveland last month”.
The debate on October 22 will take place along the lines of the previous one: 90 minutes of discussion moderated by a journalist, divided into segments of 15 minutes, during which each candidate you have two minutes to answer a question or give an opinion on a subject, without interruption, before proceeding to open debate.
Thus, clarifies the CDP, “to impose this rule previously agreed [a que dita que os participantes não se podem interromper durante os dois minutos de intervenção], the only candidate who will have the microphone on during the two-minute periods, will be the candidate who has the stage ”. When the time is up, Trump and Biden will be able to fight under the moderation of NBC journalist Kristen Welker.
The current US President’s team was not satisfied with this change in the rules. Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager even wrote a letter to the CDP that
where it said to be “Totally unacceptable that someone has that power” and that “the decision to proceed with this change is equivalent to giving even more editorial control to the debate committee”.
Our letter to the BDC (Biden Debate Commission) pic.twitter.com/ZsY5JfMbT7— BillStepien (@BillStepien) October 19, 2020
In the same letter, Stepien criticizes the change of themes, which also caused some concern among Republicans, since they were counting, in the light of what is usual, for the debate to revolve around foreign policy. Instead, the discussion will focus on Covid-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security and leadership, as it had been announced the week before.
Donald Trump himself also showed his displeasure to journalists at the end of the Arizona rally. He confirmed, however, that this would not prevent him from going to the debate: “I will participate, I just think it is very unfair that the topics have changed and that we have, again, a moderator who is totally biased”.
CDP said, in the statement in which they launched the new rules, that they were aware that the decision might not please both parties. “One may think that we are going too far, and the other may think that we are not going far enough. We are comfortable that these actions find the right balance and that they are in the interest of American citizens, for whom these debates are made ”.
The response by the Biden campaign was later and
, who said that Bill Stepien sent that letter “because Donald Trump is afraid to face more questions about his disastrous response to Covid-19”.
Biden's @TDucklo responds to debate letter— Christopher Cadelago (@ccadelago) October 19, 2020
“The campaigns and the Commission agreed months ago that the debate moderator would choose the topics. The Trump campaign is lying about that now because Donald Trump is afraid to face more questions about his disastrous COVID response" https://t.co/cQhjP9RSpj pic.twitter.com/4rNwwnPXuo
The debate is scheduled for next Thursday, October 22, and is the last meeting between the candidates before the American elections scheduled for November 3.
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