The final debate between US President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden will feature a mute button to allow each candidate to speak uninterrupted.
The Presidential Commission on Debates said each candidate’s microphone at the debate in Nashville, Tennessee, would be silenced to allow the other to make two minutes of opening remarks at the beginning of each 15-minute segment of the debate. Both microphones will be turned on to allow a back-and-forth after that time.
The new measures were brought in following a heated first debate marked by ill-tempered exchanges and frequent interruptions, predominantly by Trump.
The Trump campaign voiced objections to the change but said the President will still take part in the Thursday night event, one of his last chances to reach a large prime-time audience before voting ends on November 3.
“President Trump is committed to debating Joe Biden regardless of last-minute rule changes from the biased commission in their latest attempt to provide advantage to their favored candidate,” campaign manager Bill Stepien said.
With only two weeks to go until the election, Joe Biden has a commanding lead nationally in opinion polls. However, he has a smaller lead in the handful of key US states that will ultimately decide the outcome.
President Trump heads to the battleground state of Pennsylvania on Tuesday with hopes of rekindling the support that powered his surprise 2016 victory. First Lady Melania plans to make her first public appearance since recovering from Covid-19 at the rally.
Biden, however, is taking a break from the campaign trail to prepare for the presidential debate.
More than 30 million votes have already been cast nationwide, limiting Trump’s chances of reframing a contest opinion polls that show him trailing.