Trump tone it down? That’s wishful thinking

The debate organizers have made a rule change for the second debate on Thursday between Joe Biden and Donald Trump that includes mute buttons.

When Trump and Biden face off on Thursday for a final televised debate, each candidate will have their microphones cut off while the other is delivering responses to questions.

During the 90-min debate, each candidate will have two minutes of uninterrupted time to respond to questions before they move on to open debate. The rule change from the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) comes after a chaotic first debate during which the presidential conductors spoke over each other, and Trump, especially, interrupted his opponent.

Recall that Trump withdrew from the second debate with its virtual format because he opposed the fact that his microphone could be silenced which is what this new rule also allows. He is complaining that this new rule is ‘unfair’ but the rules always said that the responder would have two minutes uninterrupted time. But Trump thinks that rules don’t apply to him of course and it is because he repeatedly violated that rule that this method for implementing this rule was introduced. He has grudgingly agreed to this change, a sign that he realizes that he cannot walk away from this debate and that doing so for the second debate was a mistake. He needs to do something to turn his fortunes around and reaching a large audience is necessary.

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign is saying that he will tone it down and will not be as combative as he was in the first debate, a sign that even he realizes that he made a very poor impression. But this may be wishful thinking on the part of his campaign advisors because I don’t think he can he control himself. I fully expect him to rant and rave when his mic is turned on. The screens will be split to show both people and it will be interesting to watch Trump because he just cannot stand to be silent when someone else is speaking in his presence and two minutes will seem like an eternity to him. H will be visibly sullenly fuming as Biden speaks and in his frustration may even yell into the muted microphone.


  1. Who Cares says

    I think the only reason Trump accepted the debate is that he is absolutely livid by the ‘betrayal’ of the US population by having more people watching Biden on one network then he got in viewers on ABC and affiliates. We’ve seen it time and again that you are NOT allowed to be more popular then Trump by Trump.

    Minutes after the debate ends (or possibly already during) expect cries of censorship, bias, deliberate interference and more of that crap since Trump will get muted multiple times. It will also be the excuse of why Trump lost, it wasn’t Trump it was the moderation against him.

    My only bet (Trading Places style for 1 euro) is if he’ll storm of during the debate after getting muted for the Nth time or not.

  2. says

    Oh, it’s the one where someone calls equal treatment “unfair” when they don’t like it for other reasons. Like being unable to talk over others. It takes away one of his socially aggressive tools he’s used to spamming.

  3. says

    If anyone wonders how screwed up things are, the fact that it has come to this- mute buttons during a presidential debate- speaks volumes.

  4. jenorafeuer says

    If Biden is smart (or at least his campaign managers are), he’ll let himself go over and get cut off at least one or two times, just so he can refute claims of bias by pointing out that he got cut off as well. And he will insist beforehand that the moderator follow that policy on him as well.

    It won’t affect most of Trump’s base, but Biden can make a show of being ‘the adult in the room’, not that this would be difficult in that room.

  5. Steve Cameron says

    Even if Trump is muted for viewers he’ll still likely be heard by Biden (and the moderator) if they’re close enough, so he could still opt to talk over his opponent. Last debate he was trying to throw Biden off his stride with the constant interruptions and that still might work even with his mic muted. It could even make Biden look worse (or sound worse at least, since you’ll see him soundlessly mouthing off in the split screen).

  6. says

    What I fear is Trump going around the plexiglass and trying to approach Biden, just so he can get video of Biden running away from him. And who would stop Trump?

  7. Who Cares says

    Oh boy was I wrong about them only starting to complain about interference during or after the debate.
    Seems the RNC chair is already yelling meddling, partisanship and bias because Trump isn’t allowed to drown out Biden.

  8. danielwall says

    Saying he will tone it down is one thing. Actually doing so is another.

    Trump never dials himself back. He doubles down every time.

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