News Brief

Biden Stumbles, Trump Attacks: Key Highlights From First US Presidential Debate

Kuldeep Negi

Jun 28, 2024, 09:52 AM | Updated 10:09 AM IST

Trump and Biden (Image Source: CNN)
Trump and Biden (Image Source: CNN)

In a fiery first debate of the US presidential race, Joe Biden struggled Thursday (26 June) to counter a forceful offensive from Donald Trump, as the two exchanged personal insults and accusations.

The debate, hosted at CNN headquarters, was notable for being the first between a sitting president and a former president.

A bombastic Trump attacked Biden's record on the economy and foreign policy, accusing him of being a failure.

Biden, speaking rapidly and sometimes stumbling over his words, tried to hit back with prepared lines but appeared hesitant at times.

The tension was palpable as the two oldest presidents - Biden (81) and Trump (78) in US history refrained from shaking hands.

The debate rules, including muted microphones, aimed to prevent interruptions, underscoring the contentious nature of the event.

Biden, reportedly suffering from a cold, aimed to remind viewers of Trump’s legal troubles, millions of television viewers that Trump would be the first convicted felon in the White House.

"Think of all the civil penalties you have. How many billions of dollars do you owe in civil penalties for molesting a woman in public," Biden questioned.

He added, "You have the morals of an alley cat."

Trump, seasoned in rallies and reality television, criticised Biden’s performance.

"It's a shame what's happened to our country in the last four years," Trump said.

"I'm friends with a lot of people. They cannot believe what happened to the United States of America. We're no longer respected," he added.

Trump also mocked Biden’s delivery, 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."

The debate touched on critical issues like the economy, with Biden attacking Trump over inflation and Trump defending his economic record.

On foreign policy, Trump criticised Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and his stance on Israel, while Biden highlighted his achievement of not having soldiers at risk overseas.

Post-debate, Kate Bedingfield, a former Biden communications director, expressed disappointment in Biden’s performance.

"I don't think there is any other way to slice it," she told CNN.

Also Read: 'Entitled To Make Mistakes': Sam Pitroda Says Jairam Ramesh's 'Assurance' Post Is Not Congress' View

Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

Get Swarajya in your inbox.