President Donald Trump said Thursday he likes his debates with Joe Biden just the way they are and opposes potential changes to try and prevent a repetition of the chaos that marred their first clash.
The US presidential debates organizers announced Wednesday that “additional structure” is needed “to ensure a more orderly discussion” — a polite reference to the meltdown that occurred the previous day in Cleveland.
Trump says not so fast.
“Why would I allow the Debate Commission to change the rules for the second and third Debates when I easily won last time?” he tweeted.
Trump has declared himself the winner several times, citing unidentified polls. Surveys conducted by US media organizations have suggested the opposite, giving Biden the upper hand.
Republicans, Democrats and even the night’s moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News, have been nearly unanimous in agreeing that the 90-minute encounter was an ugly and out-of-control occasion.
“I never dreamt that it would go off the tracks the way it did,” Wallace told The New York Times on Wednesday.
On Thursday, still smarting from the nationally televised debacle, the hugely experienced Wallace told Fox News that Trump had ruined what should have been the equivalent of a “beautiful, delicious cake.”
“I felt like I had gotten together all of the ingredients,” Wallace said. “Then, frankly, the president put his foot in it. And that was frustrating.”
The second presidential debate is scheduled for October 15 in Miami and the third for October 22 in Nashville.
Among possible changes being discussed to help the moderators is allowing them to turn off a candidate’s microphone, in hopes of preventing interruptions and outbursts. However, debate watchers have already pointed out that one candidate could still yell over the remarks of the other, as Trump did repeatedly on Tuesday.
Both interrupted and insulted each other in Cleveland but the president did it the most and certainly the loudest.
Trump’s spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Thursday that the only changes the president would agree to in the next debate are “changing the moderator and a change in the Democratic nominee.”
“He doesn’t want rules that cover for a certain candidate’s inability to perform well.”
Trump, who is well behind in polling against Biden ahead of the November 3 election, has called the Cleveland debate “an exciting evening.”
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