A Mute Point—Could Moderator Really Cut Trump’s Mic?

President Donald Trump walks away form the podium at the conclusion of the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

With one presidential debate (or debacle, depending on who you talk to) in the rear-view mirror, there’s a growing movement from President Trump foes to try to find a way to stop him from talking. The latest potential ploy: allowing the moderator to turn off his microphone. CBS reported the day after debate No. 1 that the Commission on Presidential Debates plans to make some changes to the format. One possibility that appears to be on the table is cutting off a candidate’s microphone if they violate the rules.

Trump’s team will tell you he squared off against two opponents on Tuesday: Joe Biden and moderator Chris Wallace. Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh finds it all to be a farce. “They’re only doing this because their guy got pummeled last night,” he said. “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.”
C-SPAN political editor Steve Scully will moderate the second presidential debate in Miami, then NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker sits in the hot seat for debate No. 3 in Nashville. While Trump has been predictably pummeled by left-leaning media pundits about his performance on Tuesday, the mute button could also be used if Biden continues his tactic of using disparaging words to describe President Trump like “clown,” “racist,” “fool,’ and “puppy.”

While the first debate drew a huge audience of 73 million viewers, Americans watching the next debate will have their own version of a mute button to use if proceedings fall off the rails: their remote control.

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