Donald Trump has said he will participate in the final head-to-head presidential debate on Thursday night, despite complaining of new conditions and topics announced by organisers.
On board the Air Force One, Mr Trump told reporters that he will participate but noted that “it’s very unfair that they changed the topics and it’s very unfair that again we have an anchor who’s totally biased.”
The debate is scheduled for 9pm EST on Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee, and is going to be moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker. It will be the last time Mr Trump and Democrat candidate Joe Biden face off before the election on 3 November.
A second debate had been scheduled for 15 October, but it was cancelled after Mr Trump, who had tested positive for coronavirus, refused to take part remotely. Instead, the two candidates staged separate televised town hall events.
The first debate was held in September in Cleveland, Ohio, after which Mr Trump was criticised for repeatedly interrupting his opponent and clashing with the moderator.
The Commission on Presidential Debates has now announced that the organisers will be able to mute the candidates’ microphones in order to allow them two minutes of uninterrupted time per segment. The 90-minute event will be divided into six segments of 15 minutes.
The commission has clarified that the open discussion part of each segment will not see a mute button used on the microphones, which means that both the candidates will be able to interrupt each other after the initial two minutes are done.
After repeated interruptions from Mr Trump during the first debate, the former vice president Mr Biden eventually remarked, “Will you shut up man?”
The moderator for the first debate, Chris Wallace, was later quoted saying that even if Mr Trump’s microphone was muted he could still have continued to interrupt. He also suggested he was uncomfortable with the idea of muting the two men competing for the White House.
Hours before the commission announced on Monday its changes for the final debate, Mr Trump’s campaign had urged the commission to rethink the set of topics, demanding it focused on foreign policy.
However, the moderator Kristen Welker has said that the topics for the debate will be fighting Covid; American families; race in America; climate change; national security and leadership.