Mute button brings civility to last presidential debate

Updated: 24 October, 2020 11:14 IST | Agencies | Washington

In the first presidential debate last month, Trump, 74, and Biden, 77, fiercely clashed over a number of issues, including the pandemic, racism, economy and climate, marked by angry interruptions and bitter accusations

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on Thursday. PIC/AP
President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on Thursday. PIC/AP

The mute button, or at least the threat of it, worked well this time as US President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden showed restraint and civility during the last presidential debate, unlike their first encounter when they frequently spoke over each other, creating chaos at times. Far from their raucous first meeting in Ohio that led organisers to introduce the mute button, the second and final debate between Trump and Biden at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday night was less fury and more urgency.

In the first presidential debate last month, Trump, 74, and Biden, 77, fiercely clashed over a number of issues, including the pandemic, racism, economy and climate, marked by angry interruptions and bitter accusations.

A media report termed the mute button a godsend, saying it also amplified the candidates' differences. On Monday, the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced new rules under which it will mute microphones for two minutes of the rival speakers so as to give them uninterrupted opening remarks during the final debate. The decision comes after a chaotic first presidential debate that saw the two candidates interrupting each other repeatedly.

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First Published: 24 October, 2020 10:05 IST

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