Democrats condemned Trump’s behavior over the course of the 90-minute broadcast, which saw the Republican incumbent repeatedly bulldoze through Biden’s responses and interrupt moderator Chris Wallace with a barrage of baseless claims.
The White House’s allies and conservative commentators, meanwhile, have charged that Wallace challenged Trump more than he did Biden, and asserted that the Fox News anchor displayed bias toward the Democratic presidential nominee.
In its statement Wednesday, the commission commended Wallace for his “professionalism and skill” throughout the debate, and revealed that it “intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates.”
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh criticized the announcement Wednesday, contending that the commission was only considering changes to the debate format “because their guy got pummeled last night.”
“President Trump was the dominant force and now Joe Biden is trying to work the refs,” Murtaugh said in a statement. “They shouldn’t be moving the goalposts and changing the rules in the middle of the game.”
Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in her own statement that the former vice president would answer voters’ questions at the next debate in Miami “under whatever set of rules the Commission develops to try to contain Donald Trump’s behavior.”
“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,” Bedingfield said.
In the hours since the candidates’ bitter clash — during which Trump attacked Biden’s family and Biden called Trump a racist and a clown — some Democrats have suggested their nominee should not participate in the two remaining debates, scheduled to take place next month.
At the very least, they argue, the commission should allow the moderator the ability to mute the candidates’ microphones if they violate the rules of the debate, agreed upon beforehand by both campaigns.
Top Biden campaign officials said Tuesday night and Wednesday morning that he plans to appear at both upcoming debates. The second debate, a town hall-style event scheduled for Oct. 15, is set to operate under a different format entirely, while the third debate on Oct. 22 was slated to be structured identically to the first.
Alex Isenstadt and Marc Caputo contributed to this report.