The Commission on Presidential Debates will provide moderators of the remaining debates with “additional tools to maintain order” following a chaotic performance by President Trump on Tuesday night.
Trump interrupted Joe Biden dozens of times, often in insulting terms, and was repeatedly admonished by moderator Chris Wallace to stick to the ground rules. Many commentators called the debate a “hot mess” and a disservice to voters.
“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 said in a statement. “The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly.”
The Trump campaign took offense at the idea of changing the rules.
“They’re only doing this because their guy got pummeled last night,” said campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh, in a statement. “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.”
Steve Scully, a C-SPAN host, will have the honors for the second presidential debate, a town hall-style event to be held on Oct. 15 at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.
Kristen Welker, White House correspondent for NBC News, will moderate the final debate on Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville.
In its statement, the commission thanked Wallace, host of “Fox News Sunday,” for “the professionalism and skill he brought to last night’s debate.”
Wallace was criticized for not stepping in sooner to rein in President Trump. But about 45 minutes in, he did yell “Stop!” and implored the candidates not to interrupt.
“I think the country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions,” Wallace said. When Trump asked him to admonish Biden as well, Wallace retorted, “Frankly you’ve been doing more interrupting than he has.”
The next debate will be between the vice presidential candidates on Oct. 7, and will be held at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The moderator for that event, which figures to be more civil, is Susan Page of USA Today.