Donald Trump's campaign was in meltdown mode on a press call about the Commission on Presidential Debates on Thursday, accusing the nonpartisan organisation of political bias and rattling off obscure online polls showing the president won Tuesday's debate.
At virtually the same time on Thurdsay, the moderator of the first debate, Fox News host Chris Wallace, said on his programme that Mr Trump "bears the primary responsibility for what happened" at the debate that was widely criticised as a national disgrace for its chaotic format, incessant interruptions, and general lack of policy substance.
The president "was determined to butt in and throw Joe Biden off," Mr Wallace said, adding that he had initially — and erroneously — believed the debate's rules would lead to a productive evening of presidential discourse.
Now, Trump campaign officials are going at the commission that put on the event, threatening to pull their candidate from the next two scheduled debates if they try to change the rules.
The campaign slung accusations that the commission is "partisan," "anti-Trump," and filled with "permanent swamp monsters."
Several Republicans, including the 43rd US president, George W Bush, are on the commission.
As with every presidential campaign, the Trump campaign has sought to spin Mr Trump’s debate performance in his favour, pointing to several dubiously scientific online surveys where respondents said the Republican candidate came out on top of Mr Biden.
Among the polls senior Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller cited were the “New Jersey dot com poll” and the “KISS FM Phoenix online survey,” Yahoo News White House correspondent Hunter Walker reported.
The Trump campaign’s aggressive press call accusing the debates commission of political bias comes on the heels of news reports that the debate was considering altering its format to limit the amount of crosstalk and interruptions that derailed Tuesday’s event.
Mr Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, told reporters after the debate on Tuesday the former vice president is “going to show up” at the next two debates.
“He’s going to continue speaking to the American people,” she said. “We don't know how many different ways we can say yes. We are going to the debates.”
The most powerful Democrat in Washington, however, does not think it is worth Mr Biden’s time to debate Mr Trump again.
“I think one and done,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday in response to a question from Bloomberg’s David Westin about whether Mr Biden should continue with the planned debate schedule.
“I myself did not think that Joe Biden should dignify debate with the president, who has no commitment to fact, evidence, data, demeans the office he holds,” Ms Pelosi said.
The speaker had been urging Mr Biden for weeks before Tuesday not to debate Mr Trump.
“I never thought he shouldn't do it because I didn't think he would do well. I thought he shouldn't do it because I thought something like this could happen,” she said, referring to Tuesday’s debacle.
Ms Pelosi has not spoken directly with Mr Trump for over 11 months.