Home / LATEST NEWS / Heated First Debate Between Trump and Biden Raises Concerns Over Biden’s Health, Spotlights Kennedy’s Absence

Heated First Debate Between Trump and Biden Raises Concerns Over Biden’s Health, Spotlights Kennedy’s Absence

-Editorial

The first debate between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden was marked by moments of controversy and concern about the President’s ability to continue as the Democratic candidate. The debate was hosted by CNN at their Atlanta Studios on June 27.

President Biden, 81, faced criticism for appearing lost and showing signs of his age during the debate, with a notable stumble occurring when he struggled to articulate his response to a question about the national debt. The momentary lapse led to a puzzling reference to “beat[ing] Medicare,” a gaffe that Trump seized upon with a cutting remark, accusing Biden of having “beat Medicare to death.”

Despite the early stumble, Biden regained his composure as the debate progressed. However, concerns over his hoarse voice and subdued demeanor, attributed to an undisclosed cold by his campaign, reinforced existing doubts about his physical and mental condition.

In response to questions about his age, 78-year-old Donald Trump proudly highlighted his cognitive abilities and recent achievements on the golf course. Trump boasted, “I took two cognitive tests. I aced them, both of them,” emphasizing his mental sharpness. Additionally, he mentioned his good health status, noting, “I’m in very good health. I just won two club championships.” Trump’s remarks likely referenced the cognitive test he underwent during his presidency in 2018, where his former White House physician, Rep. Ronny Jackson, reported a perfect score of 30/30 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment.

Trump and Biden engaged in a heated exchange over abortion, marking their lengthiest confrontation of the night thus far. Trump asserted that there was widespread desire for the federal abortion protections established by Roe v. Wade to be rescinded, advocating for the issue to be delegated to individual states.

Citing a remark from former Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, Trump insinuated that Biden supported permitting abortions up until the moment of birth. In response, Biden refuted the accusation, affirming his support for the longstanding precedent set by Roe, which had been upheld in the United States for nearly fifty years. Biden criticized Trump’s stance of deferring the issue to the states, likening it to relinquishing civil rights decisions to state authorities.

The absence of Robert Kennedy Jr., a viable third candidate, raised scrutiny over CNN’s selection process, leaving many viewers questioning the inclusivity of the debate.

Kennedy Jr., a former Democratic candidate turned independent, has surged in popularity, appealing to anti-establishment voters with his unconventional campaign. Known for promoting conspiracy theories, Kennedy has managed to attract support across party lines, boasting favorability ratings that surpass those of both President Biden and former President Trump.

With a favorability rating of 48% in a Time report and a net favorability of plus 25% in a Harvard CAPS-Harris poll, Kennedy has emerged as a third-party contender. Despite polling at 22% in a hypothetical 2024 election scenario and leading among independents and younger voters in battleground states, experts caution that third-party support often wanes as elections draw near.

The second debate will be held on Tuesday, September 10, 2024. ABC announced that the debate would be simulcast, airing on other networks. Kennedy has a better chance of qualifying for the September debate, compared to the June debate, which he did not qualify for.

Politifact fact-checked statements made by both Trump and Biden regarding immigration policies. Trump claimed that Biden had allowed millions of people to enter the country from prisons, jails, and mental institutions, a statement rated as “Pants on Fire!” by Politifact. Federal data showed that around 103,700 noncitizens with criminal convictions were arrested by immigration officials from fiscal years 2021 to 2024, but not all of them were allowed into the country, as the term “noncitizens” also includes individuals with legal immigration status.

Regarding Biden’s claim that there has been a 40% decrease in illegal border crossings due to policy changes, Politifact rated this statement as “Mostly True.” The Department of Homeland Security reported a significant drop in encounters following a policy announcement that restricted asylum access at the southern border. However, experts caution that various factors, such as seasonal patterns and enforcement actions, can influence migration trends. The long-term impact of the policy remains uncertain, with conflicting opinions among experts as to whether such measures can sustainably deter illegal immigration. Trump’s assertion that the U.S. had the safest border in history was deemed “Mostly False” by Politifact, highlighting the complexity of immigration issues and the need for nuanced analysis beyond simplistic claims.

As the race to the 2024 election intensifies, the scrutiny on both candidates’ abilities and policies will only increase. This debate has set the stage for a contentious and closely watched election season, where the stakes are high and every word and action will be dissected by voters and analysts alike. The next debate will be crucial in shaping public perception and could significantly impact the trajectory of the campaigns.

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