The U.S. Commission on Presidential Debates on Monday announced a new rule on muting the microphones of President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden to give them each two uninterrupted minutes at the beginning of every debate segment in the upcoming final presidential debate.
“Both campaigns this week again reaffirmed their agreement to the two-minute, uninterrupted rule,” the commission said in a statement.”The Commission is announcing today that in order to enforce this agreed upon rule, the only candidate whose microphone will be open during these two-minute periods is the candidate who has the floor under the rules,” said the statement.
“For the balance of each segment, which by design is intended to be dedicated to open discussion, both candidates’ microphones will be open,” it said.
The first presidential debate, held on Sept. 29, descended into chaos as heated exchanges and personal attacks bulldozed the 90-minute-plus debate between Trump and Biden. Trump appeared intended to interrupt Biden on nearly every topic, while the former U.S. vice president called his opponent a “liar” and a “clown” and told him to “shut up.”
One day after the first debate, the commission vowed to add new rules to ensure a more orderly discussion in the remaining debates.The final debate will start at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time Thursday (0100 GMT Friday) in Nashville, Tennessee. NBC journalist Kristen Weaker will be the moderator. The commission announced on Friday that the topics for the six segments of the final debate would be fighting COVID-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security, and leadership.