EventsEventsPodcasts
Loader
Find Us
ADVERTISEMENT

Biden stumbles and Trump tells tall tales during first election debate

A man wears a cowboy hat as he watches the presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in Scottsdale, AZ, 27 June 2024
A man wears a cowboy hat as he watches the presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in Scottsdale, AZ, 27 June 2024 Copyright AP Photo/John Bazemore
Copyright AP Photo/John Bazemore
By Tamsin Paternoster
Published on Updated
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

The incumbent US president gave a disjointed performance against his Republican rival, Donald Trump, who repeated false claims as both fought to gain control of the political narrative in a tense debate.

ADVERTISEMENT

US President Joe Biden's performance in Thursday's televised debate against his predecessor in office Donald Trump left members of the Democratic party questioning whether he should be gunning for reelection.

The president spoke with a raspy voice and appeared to lose his train of thought as he attempted to answer a question on tax policy — ending his sentence referencing Medicare.

At other times, he pivoted to seemingly unrelated topics and failed to make his points come across.

Meanwhile, Trump appeared poised, even as he made repeated provocative and false statements.

Vice President Kamala Harris acknowledged that Biden had a "slow start," as several Democrats raised concerns over whether the 81-year-old was fit enough to successfully beat Trump in the November elections.

Trump blames Biden for war in Ukraine

As the debate turned to foreign policy, Trump claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine after seeing how the Biden administration handled their exit from the war in Afghanistan.

Although he confirmed he would not accept Putin's terms for ending the war, he asserted that under his presidency, the war would be "settled" — although he did not go into detail on how.

Trump reiterated his previous campaign trail argument that the US was providing Ukraine with too much financial aid, calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a "salesman" who consistently walked away with money from the US.

Biden responded by asserting that Vladimir Putin was a "war criminal" who would not stop with Ukraine. He also noted that NATO does "as much for Ukraine" as the US has and that America's strength "lies in its alliances".

President Joe Biden, right, and Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump stand during a presidential debate hosted by CNN, Thursday, June 27, 2024.
President Joe Biden, right, and Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump stand during a presidential debate hosted by CNN, Thursday, June 27, 2024.Gerald Herbert/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

Trump repeated his mantra that European allies do not spend as much on NATO as the US, claiming that he successfully pressured NATO allies to ramp up spending.

The stakes of the presidential election in November are high for Ukraine, which is currently the top recipient of US foreign aid and reliant on military aid to fend off Russian troops.

When asked about the war between Israel and Hamas, Trump dodged the question of whether he would support an independent Palestinian state. He otherwise asserted that Israel should "finish the job" and accused Biden of acting like a "Palestinian", albeit a "bad one".

Biden reaffirmed his support for Israel but focused on Hamas, commenting that they should be eliminated.

He touted a plan that included trading hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners and a continued “ceasefire with additional conditions”.

Clashes over immigration, abortion and golf

Elsewhere, the two candidates sparred over their opposing policies on immigration, the economy and abortion.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump doubled down on anti-immigration rhetoric, claiming Biden's "open border" policies have created a rise in crime, saying, "we have to get a lot of these people out."

The two candidates also spoke about the overturning of Roe v Wade, with Biden calling the repeal of the law — which granted citizens a constitutional right to abortion — a "terrible thing".

Trump responded by saying he would not block abortion medication and argued that states should have the right to decide whether abortion should be legal or not, concluding, "now the states are working it out."

When singling out state restrictions on abortion, Biden pivoted to immigration, referencing a “young woman who was just murdered” by an immigrant in an unclear point.

ADVERTISEMENT

Commentators were quick to point out that Biden failed to score on what is considered one of his campaign's strong points.

As the debate went on, Trump himself stumbled over questions on how he would respect his oath of office following the 6 January attacks on the US Capitol, which he denied.

Biden fired a set of criticisms against the former president calling him a "convicted felon" with the morals of an "alley cat".

Trump was found guilty last month on 34 counts of falsifying business records over a hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016.

ADVERTISEMENT

The candidates also spoke briefly about age, with Trump claiming he "aced" his cognitive tests before turning the conversation to golf — saying that Biden "couldn't hit a ball 50 yards".

Share this articleComments

You might also like

Trump confuses doctor's name whilst accusing Biden of cognitive decline

Trump decries 'rigged trial' in post-conviction speech

Donald Trump's return could leave Europe 'on its own', De Croo warns