Just three days before the second and final debate between President Trump and Joe Biden, the Commission on Presidential Debates has once again changed its rules and will mute the mics of each candidate while his opponent is speaking during their first two minutes of answering a question.
“Both campaigns this week again reaffirmed their agreement to the two-minute, uninterrupted rule. 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 Commission in a statement released Monday evening.
It was actually Joe Biden who first interrupted Trump during their debate, which Chris Wallace of Fox News moderated, but the mainstream media largely blamed President Trump for the debate getting out of control.
This rule comes literally a day after Trump campaign senior advisor Jason Miller said that President Trump will “give Joe Biden a little bit more room to explain himself” on the issues. “I do think the president’s going to want to hear Joe Biden’s answers on some of these, and we’ll definitely give him all the time that Joe Biden wants to talk about packing the court. I think he’s going to get it on Thursday.”
So, President Trump, who was blamed for the interruptions during the first debate, is planning to let Biden be Biden in the next one. This begs the question: why did the Commission on Presidential Debates make this change?
Perhaps it is not a coincidence that this change was announced the same day Miller told Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business that if the moderator, NBC News’ Kristen Welker, fails to ask Joe Biden about his son Hunter’s selling access to then-Vice President Joe Biden, then Trump will bring it up.
“If Kristen Welker, the moderator, doesn’t bring it up, I think you’re pretty safe to assume that the president will,” Miller told Bartiromo. “Joe Biden has now dodged this multiple times. Are you the ‘big guy’? Are you the ‘chairman’? Is Hunter Biden handling family expenses and setting aside money for you?” Miller asked on the program.
“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,” said Trump 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien in a statement. “This was supposed to be the foreign policy debate, so the President still looks forward to forcing Biden to answer the number one relevant question of whether he’s been compromised by the Communist Party of China. Why did Biden allow his son Hunter to sell access to him while he was vice president, and why were there Chinese payment arrangements for Joe himself worked out by Hunter and his sketchy partners? If the media won’t ask Joe Biden these questions, the President will, and there will be no escape for Biden.”
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Matt Margolis is the author of the new book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis