Presidential nominees, Commission assess chaotic first debate
CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Commission on Presidential Debates says it’s adding new “tools to maintain order” to the upcoming debates after a chaotic first debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
The nonpartisan commission has organized every general election presidential debate since 1988. In a statement, the commission said the first 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.”
In the aftermath of the debate, former VP Biden and President Trump gave their assessments of their performances. “I thought the debate last night was great, we’ve gotten tremendous reviews," President Trump told reporters before leaving for campaign events in Minnesota. "We’re hitting what people want, law and order.”
“Tried to look in the camera, to the American people, to talk about their concerns, talk about what’s on their mind, to talk about what I would do as president," said Biden on a campaign train tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania.
In response to the disastrous 90 minutes, the commission says it “intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates.”
And the commission says it’s “carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly.”
"Everyone was talking over each other, and you know, I don't think it proided any more clarity for those undecided voters who are still out there," said San Jose State University political science professor Melinda Jackson.
The men spoke about issues like the Supreme Court, COVID-19 and climate change but all of it overshadowed by interruptions and insults from the president and name-calling from Biden. “President Trump did great as we have come to see from his debate performances in the 2016 cycle and how he’s run the country the last four years," said Harmeet Dhillon, California GOP National Committeewoman.
“We had a leader in Joe Biden that stood there toe-to-toe with the president who tried to distract us from his utter failure, I think makes it clear," said Rusty Hicks, chair of the California Democratic party.
While there were notable moments, the president's response to denounce white supremacists and a far-right exremist group drew major attention. "Proud Boys -- stand up and stand by," said the President when asked by Biden and the moderator to denounce the group.
The answer drew condemnation from both sides of the aisle. On the campaign trail, Biden shared a different message for the extremist group. “Cease and desist, that’s not who we are as a country, this is not who we are as Americans," said Biden.
When pressed today, the president told reporters he's always denounced, "any form of any of that," adding this, "I don’t know who Proud Boys are, but whoever they are, they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work," said Trump.
The next presidential debate is a town hall format scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami, and despite some suggestions to cancel the final two presidential debates, both campaigns have said they expected their candidates to attend.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.