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Presidential debate recap: Biden rejects calls to drop out and commits to next debate after shaky night against Trump

Joe Biden and Donald Trump appeared on stage at CNN debate moderated by Jake Tapper and Dana Bash

Biden freezes mid-answer during presidential election debate

Democrats watched in dismay on Thursday night as Joe Biden struggled in the first television debate of the 2024 presidential election against Donald Trump.

In post-debate analysis, CNN pundits discussed the possibility of his stepping down as the party’s candidate.

But the network reported on Friday that Biden doesn’t plan on dropping out and that he’s still going to take part in the second debate with Trump in September.

The president, hoarse and raspy, appeared low in energy during the CNN debate in Atlanta, Georgia, with the White House later saying he had a cold.

Looking his age and generally out-of-sorts, Biden mispoke at one stage and declared “we finally beat Medicare”, to which his Republican opponent responded, “I really don’t know what he said”.

The president did later rally to rebuke Trump over his sordid personal history and alleged “suckers and losers” remark regarding the military.

The businessman, meanwhile repeated lies and falsehoods throughout, often failing to answer questions and having to be pressed three times on whether he would accept the election results.


Newsom says he would never turn his back on Biden

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to reporters in the spin room after a presidential debate between President Joe Biden and Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump in Atlanta
California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to reporters in the spin room after a presidential debate between President Joe Biden and Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump in Atlanta (AP)

The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg reports from the debate spin room.

California Governor Gavin Newsom told reporters: “I would never turn my back on President Biden. Never turn my back on President Biden, I don’t know a Democrat in my party. That would do so. And especially after tonight, we have his back. We run not the 90-yard dash we are all in. We’re gonna double down in the next few months. We’re gonna win this election. Everyone’s questioning his performance. Well, how about the substance?”

Oliver O'Connell28 June 2024 04:35

Melania Trump breaks with tradition by skipping presidential debate

Melania Trump will break a long-standing tradition by not attending the 2024 presidential debate on Thursday evening.

The former first lady was nowhere to be seen when Trump deboarded his plane in Atlanta, Georgia ahead of the first debate against President Joe Biden since 2020.

Ms Trump has been largely absent from his 2024 presidential campaign. She has already missed key events, including the kickoff of the 2024 election in Iowa and her husband’s Super Tuesday victory party.

Melania Trump breaks with tradition by skipping presidential debate

Melania Trump was not with her husband when he landed in Atlanta, Georgia

Oliver O'Connell28 June 2024 04:30

Watch: ‘Should he be in this race tomorrow morning?’

Oliver O'Connell28 June 2024 04:15

Read Biden campaign’s post-debate statement

Biden campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon released the following statement after the debate:

“Tonight, President Biden presented a positive and winning vision for the future of America - one in which every American has a fair shot at the American dream, where every one of our rights are protected, and where our president fights to strengthen our democracy - not to tear it down.

“On the other side of the stage was Donald Trump, who offered a dark and backwards window into what America will look like if he steps foot back in the White House: a country where women are forced to beg for the health care they need to stay alive. A country that puts the interests of billionaires over working people. And a former president who not once, not twice, but three times, failed to promise he would accept the results of a free and fair election this November.

“Trump's performance tonight reminded the American people why they fired him four years ago, and reinforced just how high the stakes are this November for the future of our country.”

Oliver O'Connell28 June 2024 04:12

Social media in meltdown over Trump and Biden’s debate performance: ‘Give him one of the Panera lemonades’

Social media is having a meltdown over the first presidential debate of 2024.

Katie Hawkinson has collated some of the best reactions:

‘Pure comedy’: Social media in meltdown over Trump-Biden debate

“Biden is saying true s*** incoherently,” one X user said. “Trump is saying fake s*** coherently.”

Oliver O'Connell28 June 2024 04:08

Watch: Hannity calls Biden debate performance ‘a disaster’

Oliver O'Connell28 June 2024 04:04

Watch: Joy Reid says ‘universal reaction was somewhere approaching panic'

Oliver O'Connell28 June 2024 04:01

‘Sense of shock’ among Democrats

David Axelrod, the veteran Democrat strategist, said on CNN post-debate that “there was a sense of shock” at Biden's performance from the start of the debate.

“He did get stronger as the debate went on but by that time, I think the panic had set in and I think you're going to hear discussions ... about whether he should continue.”

CNN's John King agreed that Democrats started freaking out about Biden's performance right away and are already talking about what they need to do going forward.

The phrase “Oh my God” was heard throughout the debate.

Kate Bedingfield, former White House communications director for Biden said: “It was a really disappointing debate performance from Joe Biden. I don’t think there’s any other way to slice it. His biggest issue was to prove to the American people that he had the energy, the stamina — and he didn’t do that.”

Oliver O'Connell28 June 2024 04:01

Trump says US was ‘respected all over the world’ on Jan 6

President Joe Biden confronted Donald Trump for the first time in person about his role on January 6, asking him to once again denounce the far-right Proud Boys gang and those who attacked the US Capitol.

In their first debate ahead of the 2024 presidential election, the former president refused to answer whether he would condemn the attack or respond to questions about voters who are concerned that Trump violated his oath to accept elections as they prepare to cast their ballots in the next one.

CNN moderator Jake Tapper tried to ask him twice.

Alex Woodward reports.

Trump says US was ‘respected all over the world’ on Jan 6 in first debate

Moment marks first time that any Democratic official confronted former president in person on the attack

Oliver O'Connell28 June 2024 04:00

No Biden surrogates present after debate

The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg reports from the spin room in Atlanta:

“Minutes after the debate wrapped, an entire roster of Trump boosters took to the floor to declare that their candidate had won by any measure.

“Biden’s campaign had assembled a group of surrogates to speak on his behalf but they were nowhere to be found, and a Biden campaign spokesperson did not immediately reply to a text asking when or if they would be here.”

Oliver O'Connell28 June 2024 03:56

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