The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Yang blames his debate performance on his mic being off. NBC denies his claim.

Speaking to supporters June 28, Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang accused MSNBC of cutting off his microphone during the Democratic primary debate. (Video: William LeGate via Storyful)
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This post has been updated.

Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur who had the least speaking time of any candidate at Thursday night’s debate, defended his performance and blamed it, in part, on his microphone being turned off.

Yang, who has run on a platform of giving every American a guaranteed $1,000 a month with no strings attached, told supporters at a post-debate party and tweeted again Friday morning that he’d do better next time.

“I feel bad for those who tuned in to see and support me that I didn’t get more airtime. Will do better (my mic being off unless called on didn’t help) and glad to have another opportunity in July (and afterwards)!” Yang tweeted Friday morning.

His supporters booed when he told them “someone in production is turning on a mic or not,” and a woman said, “Oh, it was fixed.”

An NBC News spokesman denied Yang’s claim.

“At no point during the debate was any candidate’s microphone turned off or muted,” he said in an email to The Washington Post.

Yang added on Twitter that the format “is not a natural one for me at all. Requires very specific behaviors that feel very forced.”

Yang didn’t elaborate on what he’s referring to, but there were several instances throughout the debate where candidates challenged each other directly or interjected over someone else.

He also complained to his supporters that the debate format favors sound bites over substantive discussion.

Yang has amassed a small but devout following called the “Yang Gang” and polls around 1 to 2 percent in most national polls.