Oct 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Moderator Kristen Welker will not control mics during final presidential debate

Photo showing President Trump and Joe Biden speaking at the same time at the first presidential debate
President Trump and Joe Biden at the first presidential debate in September. Photo: Scott Olson via Getty Images

A producer from the Commission on Presidential Debates will manage the operation of the candidates' microphones during Thursday's final presidential debate — not the event's moderator, NBC's Kristen Welker — a source with knowledge of the event told Axios.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Alexi McCammond: Given President Trump's accusations of partisanship against the other debates' moderators, it makes sense that Welker would want to steer clear of any such optics during her stint in the chair.

The state of play: The commission announced new measures this week to mute candidates’ microphones following a chaotic first debate.

  • It said each candidate will have two uninterrupted minutes for opening remarks during each of the six segments. An open debate will follow for each segment, during which their microphones will remain open.

Flashback: In the September debate, Trump interrupted Joe Biden 71 times while Biden interrupted Trump 22 times. Trump also repeatedly talked over moderator Chris Wallace.

Go deeper