Revealed: We Now Know Who Lobbied Debate Commission for a 'Mute' Button, and It Tells Us Everything

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
AP featured image
In this combination image of two photos showing both President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)


As we previously reported, Tuesday night’s presidential debate had barely gotten started before Democrats, the media, and Never Trumpers (but I repeat myself) began floating the idea of scrapping the next two debates, supposedly in the interests of sparing the American people from the horrors of having to watch two people duke it out for the highest office in the land.

Many of them took to social media to complain about how President Trump allegedly made a mockery of the “sacred tradition” of political debates and supposedly did a disservice to the American people, yada yada.

Not long after the debate was over a related idea took root in Democratic circles about how if the remaining debates weren’t canceled they should be set up to where the moderator(s) had access to a “mute” button to be able to better control the debate flow and to keep candidates in check.

Democrats didn’t even hide the motivations behind such calls. Confirming the goal was to shut Trump up, Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) said during a press conference Wednesday that “maybe we should give the moderator a mute button, given how President Trump just interrupts at will. And the bottom line is Donald Trump doesn’t follow the rules [and] the commission has got to get a lot tougher.”


But requests to the debate commission for rule changes can’t be made by random politicians. They have to come from either another member of the rules committee or from one of the campaigns directly involved in the debate itself.

The rules commission made clear the day after the debate that they were already considering implementing changes to the rules for the next two debates in order “to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates.”

One of the rules they were reportedly considering was giving moderators the option to mute the candidates. But did the idea come from anyone on the debate commission?


In a report Thursday that got much less attention than it should have, Fox News reported that the request for a mute button for the upcoming debates was made by … the Biden campaign:

Sources close to the negotiations between the commission and the campaigns told Fox News that the Biden campaign’s debate negotiator, Brady Williamson, specifically requested a “mute button” be allowed for the next presidential debates.

One source said that Williamson’s request was made Wednesday morning, just hours after the first showdown. The source said that the request was made in front of at least two dozen witnesses.


Not long after the request for the mute button was made, the commission released their statement noting they were considering making changes.

Brady Williamson has denied making a mute button request.

Sometime before or after the on-air meltdown he had yesterday over the criticism he faced for his conduct during the Thursday White House press briefing, Fox News’s John Roberts filed this report on the Biden campaign’s mute button request, noting his sources told him the button was a “Biden ask”:

As I noted earlier this week, there’s a reason Democrats are panicking. They were reminded all over again Tuesday of what Trump did in the 2016 debates. He bought up issues about his opponent that he knew moderators wouldn’t. He kept on talking and trying to fact check his opponent because he knew the moderator would otherwise give him a pass, as happened numerous times Tuesday night.

Also, people who believe their candidate “won” a debate don’t typically go around advocating that they no longer participate in future debates or for moderators to have the ability to cut their opponent’s mic.


People should not be fooled by what Democrats, Never Trumpers, and the media are trying to do here.

They aren’t talking about canceling debates or adding a mute button in the interests of “civility” and “new tone” and all that. They’re making these demands because they’re worried about those seeds of doubt about Biden’s character and ability to lead that Trump will continue to plant at the debates (assuming they still have them in light of his COVID diagnosis), which they fear will win over just enough people to help Trump win where it counts – in key states where the election will be close.


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