According to the group’s statement, the event clearly displayed a need for “additional structure” for the two remaining forums to “ensure a more orderly discussion.” The commission also applauded moderator Chris Wallace for his “professionalism and skill.” Here's the commission’s statement in full:
The Commission on Presidential Debates sponsors televised debates for the benefit of the American electorate. Last night’s 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 Commission is grateful to Chris Wallace for the professionalism and skill he brought to last night’s debate and intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates.
The nonpartisan commission has sponsored the debates since 1988. But Tuesday night’s broadcast elicited almost entirely negative reviews from media, voters, and elected officials from both parties. While Democrats criticized Trump’s behavior, Republicans denounced Wallace, saying he showed a bias toward Biden.
On Wednesday, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh slammed the commission’s announcement, saying the group was only looking to change the debate format “because their guy got pummeled last night,” according to Politico.
“President Trump was the dominant force and now Joe Biden is trying to work the refs,” Murtaugh said in a statement. “They shouldn’t be moving the goalposts and changing the rules in the middle of the game.”
Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield also issued a statement, saying that for the next face-off, Biden would adhere to “whatever set of rules the Commission develops to try to contain Donald Trump's behavior.”
“The president will have to choose between responding to voters about questions for which he has offered no answers in this campaign—or repeating last night’s unhinged meltdown,” Bedingfield said.
Some Democrats have also wondered if Biden should participate in the upcoming debates, which are set to take place in October. They also contend that the commission should permit the moderator to mute the candidates’ microphones if they defy forum rules, which both campaigns agree to beforehand. An “informed” source told CBS News the commission does indeed plan “to issue strict new rules in the coming days that include cutting off a candidate's microphone if they violate the rules.”
On Wednesday, during a campaign stop in Alliance, Ohio, Biden said he will participate in the remaining debates and that he’s looking forward to them.
“I just hope there's a way in which the Debate Commission can control the ability of us to answer the question without interruption,” Biden said, per NPR. He also is in favor of the moderator being able to turn off one nominee’s mic while the other speaks, allowing for uninterrupted speaking time.
Trump also commented on Wallace’s abilities as a moderator. “Two on one was not surprising, but fun,” Trump tweeted.
The next event is a town hall format and is slated to take place in Miami on Oct. 15, while the final debate will happen on Oct. 22 in Nashville and has the structure as the first.