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"Dumpster Fire" Debate Forces Organizers To Change Format

The first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden received widespread criticism from viewers and pundits who called it, a“dumpster fire,” and a “shit-show.”

This combination of pictures created on September 29, 2020 shows US President Donald Trump (L) and Democratic Presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden squaring off during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29, 2020 | Getty Images
This combination of pictures created on September 29, 2020 shows US President Donald Trump (L) and Democratic Presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden squaring off during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29, 2020 | Getty Images

The commission that oversees the general election debates announced that it will make changes to the format of the remaining two presidential debates between President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden. 

The first debate on Tuesday was widely  criticized by viewers and pundits who called it, a “dumpster fire,” and a “shit-show.”

“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 Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) said in a statement Wednesday.

Though it did not specify the exact changes that would be made to the format, the commission said it would be, "carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly." CBS’ Norah O’Donnell, citing an informed source, reported that the changes will involve cutting off the microphone of a candidate who violates the rules.

During the 90-minute debate on Tuesday, President Trump continuously interrupted and taunted Biden, as moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News struggled to get the president to stay silent outside his allotted speaking slots. An exasperated Biden even told Trump to “shut up” within the debate’s first 20 minutes, as the president continued to prevent him from finishing a thought. 

Pundits expressed dismay over the chaotic debate, with CNN anchor Jake Tapper calling it “the worst debate I have ever seen."
“That was a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck,” Tapper also said on  air.

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, a previous primary debate moderator himself, also called the event “the worst presidential debate I have ever seen.”

CNN’s Dana Bash called the debate a “shit-show,” while NBC’s “Meet The Press host Chuck Todd reportedly called it a “train wreck of the making of one person.”

“We know who did it. President Trump did this. And in some way, it’s the only way he knows what to do,” Todd continued. “He bulldozed over Chris Wallace, bulldozed and, at times, flustered Joe Biden.”

MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace also said that Wallace and Biden were “abused” by “abuser” Trump in a debate in which the President followed none of the rules. 

Biden told CNN’s Arlette Saenz on Wednesday that he hopes the CPD can control the amount of interruptions during the debate.

“I’m not going to speculate on what happens in the second or third debate. My hope is that they're able to literally — say the question gets asked of Trump, he has a microphone, he has two minutes, no one else has the microphone, and then I don't know what the rules are going to be,” Biden said. “That seems to me to make some sense." 

The next two presidential debates will be held on October 15 and October 22.