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Biden blames Trump’s ‘shouting’ for debate debacle despite no evidence it occurred

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President Biden said former President Trump distracted him by ‘shouting’ during their debate last week, behavior Biden said only added to his troubles during a disastrous performance.

‘How quickly did it come to you that you were having that bad night?’ ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos asked the president during an interview that aired Friday evening. 

‘Well, it came to me I was having a bad night when I realized that even when I was answering the question, even though they turned his mic off, he was still shouting. And I let it distract me,’ Biden said. ‘But I’m not blaming it on that, but I realized that I just wasn’t in control.’ 

The ABC News interview marked Biden’s first sit-down interview since his widely panned debate performance, which included the president losing his train of thought, stumbling over his words and delivering responses in a raspy voice, something that the White House later blamed on a cold. 

The debate’s agreed-upon rules included turning off the microphone of the president or former president when the other was answering a question. At times, Trump was seen and heard speaking when his mic was turned off, but he was not heard or seen shouting at Biden during the first debate of the 2024 presidential election cycle. 

The president’s performance during the debate sparked concern and panic within the Democratic Party. Traditional allies and media pundits quickly noted Biden appeared to be showing his age – 81 – during the showdown. The concern soon cascaded into media outlets, such as The New York Times, and elected Democratic officials calling on Biden to step out of the race. 

‘The president appeared on Thursday night as the shadow of a great public servant,’ The New York Times editorial board wrote following the debate. ‘He struggled to explain what he would accomplish in a second term. He struggled to respond to Mr. Trump’s provocations. He struggled to hold Mr. Trump accountable for his lies, his failures and his chilling plans.

‘More than once, he struggled to make it to the end of a sentence. Mr. Biden has been an admirable president. Under his leadership, the nation has prospered and begun to address a range of long-term challenges, and the wounds ripped open by Mr. Trump have begun to heal. But the greatest public service Mr. Biden can now perform is to announce that he will not continue to run for re-election.’

Biden and his administration and campaign have worked to quell concerns about his mental acuity and age since last week, touting his series of campaign events immediately following the debate, as well as upcoming press conferences and continued appearances.

The president admitted he performed poorly in the debate, including during the Stephanopoulos interview, summing it up as a ‘bad night’ and a ‘bad episode.’  

‘It was a bad episode,’ Biden said. ‘No indication of a serious condition. I was exhausted. I didn’t listen to my instincts in terms of preparing. It was a bad night.’

He said the blame squarely falls on him, not those who prepped him going into debate night. 

‘The whole way I prepared — nobody’s fault. Mine. Nobody’s fault but mine,’ Biden said during the ABC News interview. ‘I prepared what I usually would do sitting down, as I did coming back with foreign leaders or the National Security Council, for explicit detail.’ 

Trump recently lambasted Biden’s debate performance in a video that appears to have been shot on a golf course earlier this week. 

‘We kicked that old, broken down pile of crap,’ Trump said in the video.

Despite calls from both Democrats and Republicans to bow out over concerns of mental acuity and age, Biden has vowed he will remain in the race. 

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