Senior congressional leadership have urged Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to continue with the next two scheduled debates, despite calls from some urging him to pull out.
“This is a colossal waste of the American people’s time. If they are not going to cut his mic so we can have an exchange of ideas, then Biden should not attend any more debates,” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said in a tweet Tuesday night of President Trump’s frequent interruptions during Tuesday’s debate.
Reactions to the first 2020 presidential debate have been mixed, with many voicing their frustrations over the large number of interruptions made by President Trump and, to a lesser extent, Biden.
But Democratic lawmakers say the stark differences on the debate stage between the two candidates will only help Biden’s campaign.
“The American people saw what Donald Trump is all about and sometimes people just see clips on the news of his rallies. And I think it’s important for them to see that,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said in report by Politico. “So yes, I think that he should continue doing these debates.”
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“Joe Biden…will not give up an opportunity to address the American people, despite Trump’s total lack of understanding and respect for the debate process,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., told Fox News Wednesday. “I think that’s the right decision.”
He added: “That said, we know that President Trump constantly fails to keep his word so it’s incumbent on the Commission on Presidential Debates to make changes and enforce its rules.”.
The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which sponsors the televised debates, announced Wednesday that it will be considering changes to the debate structure.
“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 CPD said in a statement Wednesday.
Trump consistently talked over Biden during his time and went after Biden’s son Hunter. But Biden in turn cracked, telling Trump to “shut up” and eventually called him a “clown.”
Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who moderated the debate, was forced to continuously ask both parties to stick to the topic, stop interrupting and mind the rules of the debate.
But Democratic leadership appeared emboldened after the chaotic event and rejected suggestions that the debate was a waste of time for Biden.
“Joe Biden’s never going to refuse to talk to the American people,” Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris said in a CNN interview, as she prepares for her debate with Vice President Mike Pence next week.
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And Biden’s Deputy Campaign Manager, Kate Bedingfield, said Biden “was looking forward to the next debate.”
“He’ll be focused on answering questions from the voters there, under whatever set of rules the Commission develops to try to contain Donald Trump’s behavior,” Bedingfield told Fox News. “The president will have to choose between responding to voters about questions for which he has offered no answers in this campaign — or repeating last night’s unhinged meltdown.”
Biden acknowledged the frenzied debate, and voiced his frustration in a tweet, urging his voters to ignore Trump’s rhetoric.
“Ignore the polls, ignore his tweets, ignore his obnoxious debate performance. We have to stay focused. We have to win.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested Trump should be concerned about debating Biden again, but added that he thinks structural changes need to be made.
“I’d say three things. First, unless he’s trying to lose, I don’t think Donald Trump should want to debate Joe Biden again,” Schumer told reporters during a Wednesday press conference. “I would say maybe we should give the moderator a mute button, given how President Trump just interrupts at will.”
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“The bottom line is, Donald Trump doesn’t follow the rules. The Commission’s got to get a lot tougher when debate participants don’t follow the rules,” he added.
The second presidential debate will be held on Oct. 15 in Miami. C-SPAN’s Steve Scully will moderate the event.