The Commission on Presidential Debates has decided to mute microphones to allow each candidate the opportunity for uninterrupted remarks during this week’s final forum.
The mute button will be featured at the start of each 15-minute segment during opening comments, according to the commission. After that time, both mics will be turned on without a mute option to enable debate.
The rule change follows the first debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden that devolved into a frequently interrupted shouting match.
Thursday’s debate in Nashville had originally been planned as the third between Trump and Biden. The commission scrapped the second match after Trump contracted COVID-19 and refused to participate in a proposed virtual affair.
In place of the nixed debate, the two candidates held dueling town halls.
In the first debate, held in Cleveland — which Trump claimed he won — the president interrupted either Biden or Fox News moderator Chris Wallace 145 times, according to a network analysis.
Biden, for his part, interrupted a total of 67 times, according to the same Fox analysis.
Trump’s re-election campaign earlier Monday voiced concerns over the possibility of a debate rule change allowing mic feeds to be cut.
But despite the change of course, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said later Monday that the president will still debate Biden.
“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,” Stepien said in a statement.
With Post wires
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