Trump And Biden Agree To Mic Muting, Other Rules For Upcoming CNN Debate

Both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have agreed to a set of rules regarding their upcoming CNN debate, including allowing their microphones to be muted except when it is their turn to speak, the network said Saturday.

The event, scheduled for June 27 at 9 p.m. Eastern time, will be the first presidential debate of the 2024 election cycle.

CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash are set to moderate at the network’s Atlanta, Georgia, studios.

The event will mark a departure from previous debates due to the lack of a studio audience; it is also the first time since the 1980s that the Commission on Presidential Debates will not be playing host.

Although their podiums will be the same, a coin flip will determine at which position Trump and Biden will stand.

Two commercial breaks will punctuate the 90-minute discussion between the Republican and Democrat, but campaign staffers are not allowed to interact with their candidate during those breaks. Each candidate will be given a bottle of water, a pad of paper and a pen — no prewritten notes or props are allowed.

According to CNN, Tapper and Bash will “use all tools at their disposal to enforce timing and ensure a civilized discussion.”

To qualify for the debate, candidates need to secure at least 15% support in four separate national polls that meet CNN’s standards. The network noted that while it was still technically possible for independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to qualify, this is unlikely to happen, particularly given how few states’ ballots he is expected to appear on.

Over the last two presidential election cycles, Trump has repeatedly refused to keep his responses contained to the questions directed at him. His chaotic style appeared to encourage his GOP challengers to adopt similar techniques in the Republican debates held last fall, even in Trump’s absence.

Biden was famously moved to protest Trump’s interruptions in a September 2020 presidential debate by saying, “Will you shut up, man?

Muting the candidates’ microphones will help viewers follow along (although we suppose a muted candidate could still shout while the other is speaking).