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Biden’s debate performance against Trump undercuts presidential credentials

Biden's debate performance against Trump undercuts presidential credentials US President Joe Biden looks down as he participates in the first presidential debate of the 2024 elections with former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at CNN's studios in Georgia, United States on June 27, 2024. (AFP Photo)
By Yağız Efe Parmaksız
Jun 28, 2024 6:44 AM

In a pivotal debate that unfolded in Atlanta on Thursday, US President Joe Biden and Former US President Donald Trump engaged in a heated exchange that underscored the stark contrasts between their visions for America’s future.

The matchup, which is the earliest Presidential debate in U.S. history, saw Biden, 81, and Trump, 78, bypass a handshake, underscoring the deeply polarized atmosphere still lingering from the tumultuous 2020 election.

Lasting over 95 minutes, the debate was marked by sharp attacks and pointed rebuttals, revealing profound insights into each candidate’s leadership abilities and policy perspectives.

From the outset, Biden, 81, appeared strained, his voice often trailing off and his delivery halting—a stark departure from the robustness expected of a sitting president. Despite his attempts to strike back at Trump’s relentless criticisms, Biden’s performance was marred by instances of stumbling over words and failing to deliver coherent responses.

Biden’s supporters, gathered at watch parties across the country, expressed concerns about his clarity and effectiveness, with some lamenting his inability to articulate a compelling defense of his administration’s achievements.

The debate, conducted without a live audience and with microphones muted during opponents’ speaking time, showcased Biden’s struggles to connect with voters on key issues.

When questioned about the economy, Biden stumbled through explanations, attempting to deflect blame onto his predecessor while failing to offer a compelling narrative on his economic policies.

Trump seized on Biden’s vulnerabilities, asserting his leadership in creating what he claimed was the “greatest economy in the history of our country,” a statement Biden dismissed as delusional.

One of the most critical junctures of the debate centered on Biden’s handling of inflation and economic recovery post-pandemic. Trump, known for his bombastic style, criticized Biden’s economic strategies as inadequate, while Biden, in response, struggled to defend his administration’s record, resorting to rehearsed lines and accusations rather than substantive policy explanations.

Biden supporters hoped for a forceful rebuttal on issues of abortion and social justice, core pillars of his campaign. However, Biden’s performance lacked the vigor needed to inspire confidence, with observers noting his failure to effectively challenge Trump on critical issues like voting rights and democratic norms.

Instead, Biden’s responses often veered off-topic or became muddled, missing opportunities to assert leadership on key national concerns.

Throughout the debate, Trump repeatedly capitalized on Biden’s perceived weaknesses, questioning his mental acuity and coherence. Trump’s strategy of painting Biden as unfit for office resonated with many viewers, who viewed Biden’s performance as a stark contrast to the commanding presence expected of a sitting president.

Trump’s ability to stay on message and forcefully defend his record underscored Biden’s struggles to maintain a cohesive narrative and defend against personal attacks.

In one of the most memorable exchanges, Biden stumbled over his defense of Roe v. Wade, allowing Trump to seize the opportunity to highlight Biden’s inconsistencies and perceived weaknesses on issues critical to his base. Trump’s sharp rebuttals and confident demeanor further highlighted Biden’s struggles to maintain a strong and consistent defense of his administration’s policies.

Although both candidates, particularly Trump, presented misleading arguments, Biden’s claim following Trump’s assertions on border security was notably inaccurate. Biden falsely stated that the United Nations Border Patrol Union had endorsed him, prompting a swift response from the union.

As the debate drew to a close, Biden’s closing statement, while touching on economic fairness and tax policies, failed to deliver a compelling argument on democracy—a core component of his campaign message.

Observers noted Biden’s missed opportunity to rally supporters and provide a clear vision for America’s future, further reinforcing concerns about his ability to lead effectively in a polarized and complex political landscape.

Worsening Biden’s image further, after the debate, Van Jones, Former Special Adviser under Obama, remarked, “That was painful. I love Joe Biden. I worked for Joe Biden. He didn’t do well at all.”

The debate served as a stark reminder of Biden’s challenges in convincing voters of his capability to lead the nation. Trump’s aggressive style and focused attacks highlighted Biden’s vulnerabilities, leaving many questioning whether Biden possesses the strength and clarity needed to steer America through its current challenges.

As the election cycle intensifies, Biden is poised to face mounting pressure to demonstrate greater leadership and coherence, essential qualities for any presidential contender seeking to win over a divided electorate.

Last Updated:  Jul 16, 2024 9:34 AM