Debate Commission Promises Format Changes to Help 'Maintain Order' in Wake of Trump-Biden Chaos

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced some changes to the next showdown between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday. The two squared off in their first debate of the 2020 presidential election on Tuesday night, and many critics called out the organizers for allowing Trump to dictate the conversation. The commission announced that next time, the rules would be harder to break.

"Last night's debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues," read a statement from the C.P.D., according to a report by NBC News. "The C.P.D. will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly." The C.P.D. is a non-partisan organization that works with both candidates and their campaigns before each debate, ensuring that both understand and agree to a set of rules. On Tuesday, Trump repeatedly broke those rules by speaking out of turn and talking over Biden during his allotted time.

One of the significant changes that viewers called on the commission to make was to simply cut off the microphone of one candidate when it was the other candidate's turn to speak. A source close to the C.P.D. told NBC that they would likely employ this method. It is still unclear if the moderator will have control over the microphones or someone else behind the scenes.

Even veterans of modern politics criticized Tuesday night's debate, calling it disorganized, disrespectful and unproductive. Many tried to tally the amount of concrete policy information exchanged on the stage, weighing it against Trump's personal attacks on Biden and his family. Biden himself addressed the chaos during a campaign event on Wednesday morning.

"Well, you know, he not only attacked me constantly and my family, but he attacked the moderator," Biden said. "I just hope there's a way in which the debate commission can control the ability of us to answer the question without interruption. I'm not going to speculate on what happens in the second or third debate."

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Trump's campaign communications director, Tim Murtaugh, disagreed. In his statement, he said: "They shouldn't be moving the goalposts and changing the rules in the middle of the game." Trump tweeted about the debate throughout the day on Wednesday, saying that the organizers should try "getting a new Anchor and a smarter Democrat candidate!"

The next debate of the 2020 presidential election is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City, Utah. It will be televised on most news networks, beginning at 9 p.m. ET.