Commission mulling changes after chaotic first Trump-Biden debate

In the wake of Tuesday night’s chaotic first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic White House nominee Joe Biden, the Commission on Presidential Debates is mulling changes to the candidates' next two encounters.

The commission did not specify what, if any changes, will be implemented, only that “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.”

The commission also praised moderator Chris Wallace “for the professionalism and skill he brought to last night’s debate.”

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Both Trump and Biden frequently interrupted each other during the debate, and Fox News’ Wallace pleaded with Trump several times to allow Biden to speak uninterrupted.

The nonpartisan commission has organized every general election presidential debate since 1988. In a statement, the commission said the first 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.”

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The second debate, originally set for the University of Michigan before the pandemic, will be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. Steve Scully of C-SPAN will moderate the town hall meeting format.

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On Wednesday, Trump first commented on Wallace’s performance, and then on the commission’s announcement:

After the debate, Biden’s deputy campaign manager said his candidate would participate in the next two events.

Trump’s former GOP White House opponent, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, criticized the president’s performance.

Christie, along with former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani, had been helping prepare Trump for his first meeting with Biden.

Over and over, Trump tried to control the conversation, interrupting Biden and repeatedly talking over Wallace and delivering broadsides against Biden.

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Trump was frequently put on the defensive and tried to sidestep when he was asked if he was willing to condemn white supremacists and paramilitary groups.

“What do you want to call them? Give me a name. Give me a name,” Trump said, before Biden mentioned the far right, violent group known as the Proud Boys. Trump then pointedly did not condemn the group, instead saying: “Proud Boys, stand back, stand by. But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem.”

Biden attacked Trump’s handling of the pandemic, saying the president “waited and waited” to act when the virus reached America’s shores and “still doesn’t have a plan.” Biden told Trump to “get out of your bunker and get out of the sand trap” and go in his golf cart to the Oval Office to come up with a bipartisan plan to save people.

Trump snarled a response, declaring: “I’ll tell you, Joe, you could never have done the job that we did. You don’t have it in your blood.”

“I know how to do the job” was the solemn response from Biden, who served eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president.