Biden, Trump clash at first presidential debate of 2024 election « Khabarhub
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Biden, Trump clash at first presidential debate of 2024 election


28 June 2024  

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WASHINGTON: U.S. President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump clashed right from the start of their debate Thursday night, arguing pointedly about the U.S. economy, foreign affairs, abortion rights and migration across the Mexican border into the United States.

“We’re like a Third World nation and it’s a shame,” Trump told a nationwide television audience from a debate stage at CNN headquarters in Atlanta.

“We’re no longer respected,” Trump said, blaming Biden. “They think we’re stupid.”

Biden retorted at one point, looking at Trump. “This is the worst president in American history. This guy has no sense of American democracy.”

The Biden-Trump confrontation, four-plus months ahead of the November 5 election, was the earliest debate ever in the quadrennial cycle of U.S. presidential elections.

It was also a replay of their two 2020 debates, which occurred in the two months just ahead of Biden defeating Trump’s reelection bid for a second term in the White House.

Thursday’s face-off was the first time two U.S. presidents have ever debated each other, and it was the first time, such is their animus toward each other, that Biden and Trump have appeared in the same room since they last debated in October 2020.

Trump skipped Biden’s January 2021 inauguration, and they have been sniping at each other ever since, including on the debate stage Thursday night.

In recent days, Trump mocked Biden’s debate preparation and suggested he would need a medical boost to get through the 90-minute, face-to-face encounter.

Trump told a Philadelphia rally, “Right now, crooked Joe has gone to a log cabin to ‘study,’” as he pantomimed quotation marks with his hands. “He’s sleeping now, because they want to get him good and strong.”

Trump has long contended that Biden cannot put “two sentences together.”

More recently, however, Trump has been priming his supporters for the possibility that Biden might be something more formidable than the doddering old man that Trump has portrayed him as.

“I assume he’s going to be somebody that will be a worthy debater,” Trump told one interviewer. “I don’t want to underestimate him.”

For his part, in mid-May, just before the Thursday debate was agreed to, Biden said, “Donald Trump lost two debates to me in 2020. Since then, he hasn’t shown up for a debate.”

Trump skipped several such encounters against Republican opponents in the party’s presidential nominating process earlier this year.

“Now he’s acting like he wants to debate me again,” Biden said. “Well, make my day, pal.”

There was no studio audience for the debate, and the two candidates were mostly accompanied only by a handful of aides.

First lady Jill Biden was in the studio.

Trump’s wife, Melania, was not there, but several Republicans who want to be Trump’s vice-presidential running mate showed up.

Mary Trump, the former president’s estranged niece, was also in Atlanta and planned to voice her support for Biden in the post-debate spin room as the candidates’ aides make the case for how well their favored candidate performed.

The two 2024 candidates are the oldest presidents in U.S. history, with the Democrat Biden now 81 and the Republican Trump 78.

They hold widely different views on how the United States should be governed starting in January 2025 and what role as a military superpower it should play in world affairs, with Biden calling for continuing close connections with European allies while Trump espouses an isolationist U.S. worldview.

Biden has rallied Western nations in support of Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s 2022 invasion, while Trump has voiced skepticism about continued U.S. support of Kyiv’s forces and has said he would quickly resolve the conflict without saying how he would accomplish it.

Both candidates have maintained support for Israel in its war against Hamas militants.

Biden, however, has lately criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conduct of the war in Gaza and the death toll of Palestinians there, now more than 37,000, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Biden has pushed for a cease-fire while Trump has said Israel should quickly “go and do what you have to do” to defeat Hamas.

National polls show Biden and Trump in a virtual dead heat.

Numerous U.S. political analysts say that millions of Americans have already locked in their choice in the contest. But many voters dislike them both, “double haters,” in the current U.S. political parlance, and may only reluctantly choose one of the two, vote for a third party or independent candidate or not vote at all.

For political independents who have yet to decide, or maybe for those who have not closely followed the contest, the debate could help them decide or at least point them in the direction of Biden or Trump. A second debate is set for September 10.

VOA

Publish Date : 28 June 2024 09:55 AM

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