Biden vs Trump: Key highlights from the first 2024 US presidential debate

 Biden vs Trump: Key highlights from the first 2024 US presidential debate

Image Credit: Getty Images Image Source: CNN

In a highly anticipated event, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump met on the debate stage for the first time since October 2020.

The debate, which took place on Thursday night at CNN’s studios in Atlanta, Georgia, was a critical moment in the 2024 United States presidential race.

Biden and Trump, representing the Democratic and Republican parties respectively, touched on various issues ranging from the economy and foreign relations to immigration, seeking to gain an edge as the election approaches. Here are the key highlights from the debate.

Biden’s Struggles and Trump’s Strategy

Despite opening the debate strongly, Biden faced difficulties in articulating his points clearly, often fumbling for words. Biden who had spent the week leading up to the debate at Camp David, Maryland, where aides helped him prepare with mock set-ups, however, appeared unsteady as he approached the podium and faced the first question of the night.

This gave Trump multiple opportunities to shift the focus to Biden’s perceived weaknesses. Trump emphasized concerns about immigration and the economy, attempting to portray Biden’s leadership as ineffective.

Economic and Immigration Concerns

Trump’s opening remarks were marked by his characteristic hyperbole, praising his past economic performance: “We had the greatest economy in the history of our country… Everything was rocking good.” He contrasted this with his portrayal of Biden’s presidency, accusing him of weakening the country’s global standing. Trump criticized Biden’s economic policies, lamenting what he described as a decline in U.S. stature. “We’re like a Third World nation and it’s a shame,” Trump asserted, pointing fingers at Biden for what he perceived as a loss of respect on the global stage. He accused Biden of undermining American democracy, a sentiment echoed by a group of historians who recently rated Trump unfavorably among past U.S. presidents.

Biden Defends US Standing

Biden defended the United States’ global position, asserting, “We’re the envy of the world. Name me a single major country that wouldn’t trade places with the United States of America.” He emphasized that no country views the US as weak under his administration.

Biden described Trump as “the worst president in American history,” citing his perceived disregard for democratic values. Despite Biden’s halting delivery and raspy voice, he didn’t shy away from rebutting Trump’s claims, accusing him of lying and exaggerating the state of the nation.


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Election Integrity

Trump dodged questions about whether he would honor the results of the upcoming November 5 election. He stated he would only accept the results if they were “fair” and “free,” reiterating false claims about the 2020 election being rigged.

Trump said, “The fraud and everything else was ridiculous,” casting doubt on Biden’s previous win. This statement is notable given Trump’s current legal battles, including two criminal indictments related to his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

The COVID-19 argument 

Biden attacked Trump’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, stating, “We had an economy that was in free fall… By the time he left, things were in chaos.”

Biden also mocked Trump’s resistance to COVID-19 safeguards, referencing misinformation about cures: “Just inject a little bleach into your arm, and you’ll be alright.”

Foreign Policy and National Security

Trump made bold assertions regarding foreign policy, pledging to end Russia’s war with Ukraine and secure the release of a detained journalist if re-elected. Biden criticized Trump’s approach, labeling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” and questioning Trump’s understanding of global alliances like NATO.

Immigration Rhetoric and Border Security

A significant portion of the debate centered on immigration, with Trump linking the influx of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border to economic woes and heightened crime rates. He painted a dire picture, calling the border “the most dangerous place in the world” and accusing migrants of exacerbating security issues. Biden countered by highlighting recent declines in border crossings under his administration’s tighter restrictions, dismissing Trump’s claims as exaggerations.

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