Trump's mic could be turned off by moderator at next debate

Gino Spocchia
·2-min read
US president Donald Trump has come under fire for his debate performance   (Getty Images)
US president Donald Trump has come under fire for his debate performance (Getty Images)

The US presidential debates commission has vowed to introduce controls that could see moderators switch off Donald Trump or Joe Biden’s microphones in the next two debates.

Making an announcement on Wednesday, the commission said debate moderators will be able to more easily control discussion when the Republican and Democrat candidates next meet onstage.

Those measures, according to speculation, could include the power to mute both candidates should discussion stray off course.

It said in a statement that the debate in Cleveland, Ohio, had “made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.”

It comes amid criticism aimed at Fox News’ anchor Chris Wallace, who seemed at times unable to stop president Trump sending the debate into what one CNN commentator dubbed a “hot mess”.

Despite that, the president appeared to complain that the Commission on Presidential Debates had sided with Democrats amid calls for more controls - and a mute button.

He wrote on Twitter that “Chris [Wallace] had a tough night. Two on one was not surprising, but fun,” in an apparent complaint that he was ganged-up on.

The Democratic presidential nominee, Mr Biden, meanwhile described Tuesday as a “national embarrassment”, as he called on the committee to “control the ability of us to answer the question without interruptions.”

“You know for 90 minutes, he tried everything to distract — everything possible. It just did not work,” Mr Biden said on Mr Trump’s debate.

As the commission promised "additional tools to maintain order” and defended Mr Wallace as someone with “professionalism and skill”, Mr Trump’s campaign condemned the plans.

“President Trump was the dominant force and now Joe Biden is trying to work the refs,” said Tim Murtaugh, campaign communications director, in a statement.

“They shouldn’t be moving the goalposts and changing the rules in the middle of the game,” he added.

Despite speculation and claims on both sides, both Mr Trump and Mr Biden are due to meet on 15 October for a second televised debate.

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