Trump: I will not agree to changes in debate rules

Trump suggests he would not agree to any rule changes for the second and third presidential debates.

Elad Benari ,

Joe Biden and Donald Trump at first presidential debate
Joe Biden and Donald Trump at first presidential debate

US President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested he would not agree to any rule changes for the second and third presidential debates, NBC News reported.

"Why would I allow the Debate Commission to change the rules for the second and third Debates when I easily won last time?" he tweeted, a day after the Commission on Presidential Debates said it planned on adding "additional structure" to the future debates.

The first debate on Tuesday was widely criticized as lacking substance and being unwatchable, thanks to the repeated exchanges of insults between Trump and Biden and their attempts to speak over each other.

In a statement Wednesday, the CPD said the "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 CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly," the panel said.

A source close to the commission said Wednesday that among the changes under consideration was giving the moderator the ability to cut off a candidate’s microphone when the rules are violated.

The CPD works with both candidates ahead of the debates to arrive at an agreed-upon set of rules. It was not immediately clear what Trump's apparent opposition to any changes would mean for any proposed changes.

Biden told reporters Thursday that he was open to changes for the next debate, a town hall-style event, but would participate regardless.

"As long as we have an opportunity to respond to the questions from the people in the audience," Biden said, according to NBC News.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said earlier Thursday the president "wants to debate, he plans on being at the debate, but he wants the rules to be fair and wants a fair exchange and doesn’t want rules that cover for a certain candidate’s inability to perform well."

The president has said he was satisfied with the debate set up, and tweeted on Wednesday that the commission should try "getting a new Anchor and a smarter Democrat candidate!"

The next debate, between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, is scheduled for October 7 in Utah.

Two more presidential debates are expected later in the month— one in Florida on October 15 and one in Tennessee on October 22.

According to Nielsen, more than 73 million people watched the first debate on Tuesday night. The television audience for the debate was down from the first debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016, but it was higher than almost every other debate in modern American history.

A CNN poll published following Tuesday’s debate found that a majority of viewers said that Biden won the debate.

However, a second poll conducted by YouGov found that most viewers were “annoyed” by the debate and it failed to yield a clear winner.