In a one-sentence statement, the commission said, “Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump’s audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall.” The commission did not elaborate.
Immediately after the debate, Trump complained to reporters that they “gave me a defective mic.”
“Was that on purpose?” Trump asked, adding that the mic wasn’t “working properly within the room.”
The audio problems did not appear to be noticeable on the TV feed. The statement did not specify whether the audio issues were mic issues.
Audio problems have been an issue in debates of the past. In 1976, at the first debate between Jimmy Carter and President Gerald Ford, an audio failure halted the event for 27 minutes before technicians repaired it.
At the recent debate, according to Time, its “reporter was the designated pool reporter in the hall Monday night and observed that the audio volume as Trump spoke fluctuated, making him sound quieter on stage. Clinton’s microphone didn’t suffer the same issue.”
Update: Was this a factor? A source said that on Monday, Trump arrived 45 minutes late to his scheduled pre-debate stage and sound check, so it was a bit rushed. That time gives campaigns the opportunity to check sound levels from various vantage points in the debate hall.