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Odd how the “impartial” Commission on Presidential Debates keeps finding itself in one controversy after another in the lead up to the 2020 election.
The Trump campaign has taken exception to the commission’s chosen topics for the final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden and sent a letter calling for an adjustment.
Just as the bombshell story about purported emails from Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was breaking last week, the commission announced the topics for the second and final debate.
The debate, to be moderated by NBC News’ Kristen Welker, was expected to be focused on foreign policy, but that topic was not among the six announced by the commission on Friday: “Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security and Leadership.”
Our letter to the BDC (Biden Debate Commission) pic.twitter.com/ZsY5JfMbT7
— BillStepien (@BillStepien) October 19, 2020
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien penned a letter to the commission, which he labeled the “Biden Debate Commission” in a tweet, expressing “great concern” about the change and called on them to “recalibrate the topics.”
“As is the long-standing custom, and as has been promised by the Commission on Presidential Debates, we had expected that foreign policy would be the central focus of the October 22 debate. We urge you to recalibrate the topics and return to subjects which had already been confirmed,” Stepien wrote.
“We understand that Joe Biden is desperate to avoid conversations on his own foreign policy record, especially since President Trump has secured historic peace agreements among Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain,” the campaign said.
Stepien charged that it was “completely irresponsible for the Commission to alter the focus of this final debate just days before the event, solely to insulate Biden from his own history.”
He added that this “is not the first time the Commission has ceded to the wishes of the Biden campaign.”
Citing media reports, Stepien also expressed concerns about a possible rule change to allow someone to shut off a candidate’s microphones.
“It is completely unacceptable for anyone to wield such power, and a decision to proceed with that change amounts to turning further editorial control of the debate over to the Commission which has already demonstrated its partiality to Biden,” he wrote.
The commission announced on Monday the candidates’ microphones will be muted during the debate to ensure each candidate can get his points across uninterrupted, according to Politico.
This coming in response to all the interruptions seen in the first presidential debate.
“The candidates’ microphones will be muted only during two-minute opening remarks at the start of each 15-minute segment of the debate.” Politico reported. “During the remainder of the debate, the microphones will be on to allow an open discussion, the commission announced. Time taken up by interruptions by an opponent will be given back to the candidate.”
While speaking to reporters Monday night aboard Air Force One, Trump confirmed he would participate in Thursday’s debate, according to the pool report, but he called the changing of topics “unfair,” and questioned Welker’s supposed impartiality.
“I’ll participate, I just think it is very unfair,” the president said. “I will participate, but it’s very unfair that they changed the topics and it is very unfair that again we have an anchor who is totally biased.”
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