The Commission on Presidential Debates said Monday night that it will mute President Trump’s and Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s microphones during parts of Thursday’s presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.

The 90-minute debate will be delineated into six 15-minute segments, each with a different topic. The commission said it will give Trump and Biden two minutes apiece to speak uninterrupted at the start of each segment. A period of “open discussion” will follow until the next segment begins.

Trump’s campaign has repeatedly opposed the idea of granting the moderator the power to shut off a candidate’s microphone – an idea that has been floated in the aftermath of the first debate, during which Trump repeatedly interrupted and jeered Biden.

But in a statement Monday night, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien suggested that the president still plans to participate.

“President Trump is committed to debating Joe Biden regardless of last minute rule changes from the biased commission in their latest attempt to provide advantage to their favored candidate,” Stepien said. He did not provide evidence to back up his accusation that the nonpartisan debate commission favors Biden.

“This was supposed to be the foreign policy debate, so the President still looks forward to forcing Biden to answer the number one relevant question of whether he’s been compromised by the Communist Party of China,” he added.

The statement echoes other suggestions by campaign officials in recent days that Trump plans to grill Biden on his family’s business ties as well as his foreign policy record as vice president and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


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