Presidential debate organizers promise 'additional tools to maintain order'

Debate moderator and Fox News anchor Chris Wallace directs the first presidential debate at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 29, 2020.
(Image credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The first 2020 presidential debate was so chaotic that its organizers are already considering changes that might allow for a "more orderly discussion" in the next two.

The Commission on Presidential Debates in a statement on Wednesday said that Tuesday's presidential debate, the first match-up between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, "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 organization said it will be "carefully considering" changes to adopt and will announce them "shortly."

Tuesday's messy debate was widely panned among pundits, and it frequently descended into chaos as Trump interrupted Biden. The debate's moderator, Chris Wallace, asked the president to abide by the established rules and reminded him that "your campaign agreed that both sides would get two-minute answers, uninterrupted."

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While Wallace received some criticism for his performance during the debate, the Commission on Presidential Debates said it's "grateful" for his "professionalism and skill." At the same time, the commission said it "intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates."

The organizers did not clarify what "additional tools" might be considered, although as the debate was underway, a frequent suggestion was to allow the moderator to mute a candidate's microphone if they interrupt their opponent. The next presidential debate is scheduled to take place on Oct. 15.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.