Microphones cut during Trump / Biden debate to avoid cacophony

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WASHINGTON | Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s microphones will be cut when they do not have the floor, during their debate on Thursday, to avoid the cacophony that reigned during the first debate between the two presidential candidates in September, announced Monday the American commission responsible for these debates.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden, like US President and Republican candidate Donald Trump, will have two minutes to answer questions from the debate moderator, and during that time, the microphone of whoever is supposed to listen will be muted.

Once both candidates have used these two minutes, an open discussion will then be possible, this time with both microphones open.

“It is the wish of the commission that the candidates be respectful of their respective speaking time, which will advance the public debate for the benefit of the spectators”, indicated the commission in a statement.

But Donald Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien reacted strongly to this decision.

“President Trump is eager to debate Joe Biden, whatever last minute changes decided by a biased committee, in a last ditch attempt to provide an advantage to his favorite candidate,” he said in a statement.

According to Mr. Stepien, President Trump intends to discuss the affairs of Hunter Biden, son of Joe Biden, as he now does regularly, two weeks before the election.

“If the media doesn’t ask Joe Biden these questions, the president will, and there will be no escape for Biden,” Stepien said.

During their first debate in September, Mr. Trump interrupted his Democratic rival 71 times, the latter only interrupting him 22 times, according to the Axios news site.

The two candidates were scheduled to debate again last Thursday, but the committee imposed a virtual debate after the president tested positive for the coronavirus, a format that was immediately rejected by Mr. Trump. The two men then held separate meetings which were broadcast on television.

The debate scheduled for Thursday will be the last between the two men before the election on November 3.

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