Rules for the first debate between Biden and Trump: no opening speech and microphones on mute

The CNN news channel, host of the debate on Friday, June 27 in Atlanta, made the rules public. In addition to the lack of opening statements and muting of microphones, candidates are also prohibited from bringing pre-written notes to the debate stage. However, taking notes during the debate, with pencil and paper, is permitted.

Additionally, presidential candidates cannot consult with their advisors during the two commercial breaks. There will also be no cheering from the studio: the public is not welcome. The Biden and Trump campaign teams agreed to the rules.

About the Author
Thom Canters is a news reporter for by Volkskrant.

CNN will undoubtedly have taken the first debate of the 2020 presidential election into account when writing the rules. That debate resulted in chaos, mainly because then-President Trump repeatedly talked over his opponent Biden’s answers. ‘Will you shut up, man?Biden sighed after another interruption from Trump.

To avoid such scenes, CNN has announced that anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, who will act as moderators of the debate, “will use all available resources to control time and ensure a civil discussion.” The question remains whether that will be successful. Host Chris Wallace’s warning to “let him answer” in the first debate four years ago also fell on deaf ears for Trump.

The debate comes early

The first debate of this election comes at an unusually early time. Officially, Biden and Trump have not yet been nominated as candidates for the election by either party. The Republican Party conference won’t take place until next month. Biden will have to wait even another month before the Democratic Party takes him under his wing. The elections themselves will take place on November 5.

Typically candidates debate for the first time around September. However, Biden announced last month that she would not participate in the four debates that the so-called Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) had scheduled for the end of this year. According to Biden’s campaign team, that series of debates ended too late, because in some states voting can already begin before November 5.

The CPD has been organizing debates between (vice) presidential candidates for more than 40 years, but has been left out of this campaign. Republicans withdrew from the committee two years ago.

Outside the CPD, Biden and Trump mutually agreed to two alternative debate dates: the first on CNN and the next on the ABC news channel in early September. It is unclear whether further discussions will take place. Biden’s campaign team previously reacted negatively to proposals from the Trump camp for a third debate on Fox News.

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