Trump suggests he won’t allow rule changes

A combination picture shows U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaking during the first 2020 presidential campaign debate, held on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, September 29, 2020.

Brian Snyder | Reuters

President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested that he would not accept any expected changes to the rules of his remaining debates with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

“Why would I allow the Debate Commission to change the rules for the second and third Debates when I easily won last time?, Trump tweeted.

The Twitter post came a day after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced it would making changes to the formats of the next two showdowns with Biden.

The planned changes, the details of which have yet to be announced, are an effort to prevent a repeat of the first debate between the two candidates in Cleveland on Tuesday night.

That debate was widely criticized because of moderator Chris Wallace’s inability to prevent Trump from repeatedly interrupting Biden’s allotted time for answering questions, and for name-calling between the two candidates.

The phrase “train wreck” was used by many commentators to describe that debate, which is set to be followed by a second showdown on Oct. 15 in Miami, and the last debate on  Oct. 22 in Nashville.

The commission on Wednesday said, “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 had said that day that it “intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates.”

The commission is considering cutting off a candidate’s microphone if they violate the rules, according to NBC News.

At a White House press briefing Thursday, Trump’s spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said, “With regard to the commission rule changes, the president made clear his view on that yesterday, that he thinks the only way there’s a fair debate is a change in the moderator and a change in the Democrat nominee.”

“He wants to debate, he plans on being at the debate, but he wants the rules to be fair and wants a fair exchange and doesn’t want rules that cover for a certain candidate’s inability to perform well,” McEnany said.

Trump’s campaign on Wednesday had said of the commission’s planned changes, “They’re only doing this because their guy got pummeled last night.”

“President Trump was the dominant force and now Joe Biden is trying to work the refs. They shouldn’t be moving the goalposts and changing the rules in the middle of the game,” spokesman Tim Murtaugh said.

Trump in a tweet referring to the planned changes had written, “Try getting a new Anchor and a smarter Democrat candidate!”

But Biden on Wednesday had said changes were needed.

“I just hope there’s a way in which the debate commission can control the ability of us to answer the question without interruption,” Biden had said.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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