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.