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Biden and Trump Trade Blows in Heated Presidential Debate

Biden and Trump Trade Blows in Heated Presidential Debate

In a heated debate on Thursday, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump clashed, trading personal insults and showcasing their differences. 

Biden, who is 81 and running for a second term, faced concerns about his age and performance.

Despite a week of preparation, Biden sometimes struggled to speak clearly. He talked quickly, often in a raspy voice that faded out, and stumbled over his words. 

This worried many in the Democratic Party, especially since recent polls show Trump is either tied with or ahead of Biden for the upcoming November election.

This debate was the first ever between a sitting president and a former president. Both men accused each other of being the worst president in history, and the exchanges were full of personal attacks. 

Biden Faces Age Concerns in Debate

Biden and Trump in a presidential debate hosted by CNN

Trump, who is 78, criticized Biden’s handling of the economy and foreign policy, while Biden tried to respond with prepared lines, though he sometimes had difficulty delivering them.

At one point, Trump took advantage of Biden’s stumbles, saying, “I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence. I don’t think he knows what he said either.” 

Biden, who reportedly had a cold, reminded viewers of Trump’s legal troubles, noting he could become the first convicted felon in the White House.

Vice President Kamala Harris quickly tried to address concerns about Biden’s performance. 

In a live interview on CNN, she praised Biden’s record but admitted there were concerns about his debate performance, calling it a “slow start” but a “strong finish.” 

However, Kate Bedingfield, a former Biden communications director, said on CNN that the evening was “really disappointing” for the president.

A CNN poll showed that 67 per cent of debate watchers thought Trump had won. Despite this, the Democratic Party is set to formally nominate Biden as their candidate in August in Chicago, with little chance for change unless Biden decides to step down.

Biden has tried to counter Trump’s claims that he is not energetic enough for the job. 

Personal attacks

However, Julian Zelizer, a historian at Princeton University, said Biden’s performance “fueled the basic perception that has continued to overshadow him.” 

This was echoed by some Democratic voters, with Hazel Reitz from San Francisco commenting, “I can’t understand a word that he says. Isn’t it sad?”

The debate had few new policy proposals and focused mostly on personal attacks and critiques of each other’s records. 

In a particularly personal exchange, Biden referenced reports that Trump had called soldiers who died in the Normandy landing “suckers” and “losers,” highlighting his own son Beau’s service and sacrifice. Trump denied the remarks and repeatedly questioned Biden’s coherence.

On foreign policy, Trump criticized Biden for not fully supporting Israel in its conflict with Hamas and accused him of mishandling the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which he claimed encouraged Russia to invade Ukraine. 

Biden responded by noting that he is the first recent president to have avoided sending soldiers into combat overseas.

The candidates also argued over abortion and immigration, with Biden attacking Trump for appointing Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe vs. Wade. Trump defended his record.

Notably absent from the debate was anti-establishment activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who did not meet CNN’s requirement of 15 percent in four national polls. 

Instead, Kennedy held a livestream event where he took questions for 90 minutes.


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