Trump lied and misled. He still won the debate against Biden.

    Donald Trump smiling during a Fox News town hall.

    AP Photo/Chris Carlson

    The first presidential debate on Thursday was a disastrous night for President Joe Biden.Donald Trump fired off a number of lies and misleading statements about his record.But Biden frequently stumbled with his words, doing little to allay concerns about his age.

    Former President Donald Trump, 78, may have lied throughout the first presidential debate of the 2024 election, but the evening still may have provided a lift for his campaign as President Joe Biden, 81, struggled to find his footing during the debate.

    Trump and Biden had their first face-off on Thursday evening, breaking with election norms by holding a debate months before voters head to the polls in November.

    Minutes into the event, which was hosted by CNN, viewers were forced to confront their presumptive presidential nominees: a recently convicted felon former president with a penchant for lying and a current president whose raspy voice and stumbling words are doing little to convince voters that he can push through a second term.

    In the end, facts may not have mattered at all.

    “Debates can be lost at any moment, but they can only be won in the first 20 minutes,” Evan Siegfried, a former GOP strategist and crisis communications specialist, told Business Insider. “Unfortunately, Joe Biden lost all chances of winning.”

    In true Trump form, it didn’t take long before he started spewing misleading or false information about his and his opponent’s presidential records.

    On the US economy, Trump said it was incomparable to history throughout his term. In reality, the pandemic brought in a major recession, and employment plummeted. Economic growth, even without factoring the impacts of COVID-19, has actually been stronger under the Biden Administration, according to The Associated Press.

    On the US-Mexico border: Trump claimed that Biden will open the floodgates for immigrants. In reality, Biden has enacted restrictions on asylum applications and is on track to match the number of deportations Trump executed during his administration.

    On foreign relations, Trump also lied about the US’s trade deficit with China. “We have the largest deficit with China,” he claimed. But the deficit has been at the lowest level since 2009, The New York Times reported.

    CNN’s fact-checker, Daniel Dale, estimated that Trump said false or misleading statements 30 times during the debate. Biden made misleading or false statements nine times by comparison.

    But lying on the record has become expected behavior for Trump, and on Thursday evening he forcefully delivered.

    For Biden, the debate could have been an opportunity to flex some of the strides he made during his administration, and in a few moments, he did — but not while convincing viewers that he’s still fit for the job.

    A constant narrative that has been swirling around Biden is that the 81-year-old political veteran is too frail for a second term, despite the president’s insistence and the assurances from his White House doctor.

    A report from Special Counsel Robert Hur in February said that Biden’s memory and advanced age were reasons not to charge the president for his handling of classified documents.

    As a result, a major onus was on Biden to prove that he’s still mentally and physically fit for the job.

    Throughout the Thursday debate, Biden’s voice sounded raspy as the president struggled at moments to hold in a cough. He stumbled through his answers and rebuttals. In a few cases, his statements were incomprehensible.

    “We finally beat Medicare”, Biden said at one point. Trump, accordingly, pounced.

    “His voice sounds terrible; he looks terrible,” Siegfried, the ex-GOP strategist, told BI.

    Even prominent Democrats agreed that Thursday was not Biden’s night.

    “I think there was a sense of shock, actually, on how he came out at the beginning of this debate,” former senior Obama White House advisor David Axelrod said on CNN. “How his voice sounded — he seemed a little disoriented at the beginning of the debate. He did get stronger as the debate went on, but by that time, I think the panic had set in.”

    Still, the true impacts of Thursday’s debate will be hard to determine since the event was held so far out from the election, Siegfried said.

    “That’s a question we can’t answer because we’ve never had a debate this early,” Siegfried told BI. “Remember, Obama stumbled in the Denver debate against Mitt Romney in 2012, and people started saying it’s over, but, a few weeks later, he got right back up on the horse and showed that it was just a onetime thing. We’re not going to have this until the next debate in September.”

    “It’s going to be months of this narrative,” he added. “And it’s been a narrative that’s been out there for the length of his presidency.”

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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