United States President Donald Trump and his WH challenger Joe Biden are involved in a battle to ensure the selection of their favorite topics for the final TV debate. Trump’s campaigners have accused the organizers of the debate for intentionally overlooking the foreign policy topic and assisting President’s Democratic rival by presenting him easy debate topics. Biden camp were quick to blast the Republican for running from the questions particularly about his administrations’ response to COVID-19 pandemic that is still ravaging the US states with people fearing another lockdown as daily caseload surge.
With two weeks left in the general election, the former VP under Obama administration has gathered a commanding lead in the opinion polls but still struggles in the decisive battleground states where he has narrow margins.
Stance of Trump’s campaign
President’s campaign manager in a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates that picks the topics for the debates called on the body to change the topics for the final primetime duel if they don’t want to give the Democrat an easy sailing this Thursday. Bill Stepien in his letter claimed that the campaigns had already agreed upon the foreign policy topic and was finalized for the third debate. The topics announced by NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker last week included Climate Change, American Families, National Security and Leadership and Race in America. Addressing a campaign rally on Monday afternoon in Prescott, AZ, the Republican President criticized Kristen Welker – who will moderate the Thursday debate – as a “radical Democrat” and said she would be “no good”.
Trump’s top campaign aide Stepien charged on Biden and accused him of being “desperate to avoid conversations about his own foreign policy record” and also the commission of offering him refugee and attempting to “insulate Biden from his own history”.
“The Commission’s pro-Biden antics have turned the entire debate season into a fiasco and it is little wonder why the public has lost faith in its objectivity,” he wrote. He also bashed the Democratic challenger for trying to secure a walkover by ducking the questions raised over reports about purported emails from his son, Hunter and alleged conflict of interest.
Joe Biden’s Campaign Responded
The Democrat’s camp clamped back that it was actually the President who is trying to get a bye and make the debate a one-side contest.
“The campaigns and the Commission agreed months ago that the debate moderator would choose the topics,” said national press secretary TJ Ducklo.
“The Trump campaign is lying about that now because Donald Trump is afraid to face more questions about his disastrous COVID-19 response.
“As usual, the president is more concerned with the rules of a debate than he is getting a nation in crisis the help it needs.”
The Debate Rules
After the bizarre first Presidential debate that showcased a total chaos and rancorous melee, the Commission on Presidential Debates ahead of the final face-off has decided to censor the acrid tone between the two contestants by muting of microphones to moderate the clash and limit the on-air damage – this is a new rule. The 90-min debate will be split into 15-min segments. At the introduction of each new topic, both candidates will get two minutes of uninterrupted time with their microphones off. The debaters for the rest of the time will be allowed to take each other head on.
In a statement announcing the decision, the debate commission noted they felt it was “appropriate to adopt measures intended to promote adherence to agreed upon rules”.
The commission attempting to avoid the previous episode of cross talk, heckling and blurting said that “one [campaign] may think they go too far, and one may think they do not go far enough”, but these rules will create a right balance and will be in the good interest of public that will witness the head to head of their records without bad-tempered exchanges.