Biden blames jet lag for debate debacle: ‘I almost fell asleep on stage’


Joe Biden claims the reason for his poor performance at last week’s presidential debate was due to being tired after traveling “around the world a couple of times” in the days before the deabte.

The 81-year-old said he “almost fell asleep on stage” on Thursday during his clash with Donald Trump.

It comes as many, including those from his own party, have further questioned the president’s cognitive ability and whether he would be up to the role for four more years, should he be re-elected in November.

In remarks shared by pool reporters who attended a private fundraiser in Virginia on Tuesday, Biden said he “wasn’t very smart” for his trips before the debate.

I decided to travel around the world a couple of times… shortly before the debate… I didn’t listen to my staff… and then I almost fell asleep on stage,” he said.

In remarks shared by pool reporters who attended a private fundraiser in Virginia on Tuesday, Biden said he “wasn’t very smart” for “traveling around the world a couple times” before the debate (REUTERS)

In remarks shared by pool reporters who attended a private fundraiser in Virginia on Tuesday, Biden said he “wasn’t very smart” for “traveling around the world a couple times” before the debate (REUTERS)

Biden’s schedule had indeed been filled with both national and international travel in the days and weeks leading up to the debate, duirng which he spoke in a raspy voice, paused for long periods of time, and appeared to lose his train of thought.

On June 16 he hosted a glitzy fundraiser event in Los Angeles – some 2,000 miles from the debate venue in Atlanta – alongside stars including George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Barbra Streisand, where he raised some $30m for his campaign.

Several days earlier he had been at his family home in Wilmington, Delaware, following the guilty verdict agains his son Hunter Biden.

The week before he had joined other world leaders in France for the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings on June 6, some 4,200 miles from Atlanta.

Biden’s comments, which he described as “not an excuse but an explanation” for his debate performance come as his campaign tries to play down the age-factor in the presidential face. As the oldest-ever serving US president, Biden would be 82 by the time he took the oath of office for the second time in January 2025 – should he win.

Returning to the Oval Office would entail four more years of further international travel.

The president also travelled to Raleigh in North Carolina to hold a campaign rally on Friday, the night after the debate.

Two weeks before his disastrous debate performance, Biden attended a star-studded fundraiser in Los Angeles – some 2,000 miles away (X/@mmpadellan)

Two weeks before his disastrous debate performance, Biden attended a star-studded fundraiser in Los Angeles – some 2,000 miles away (X/@mmpadellan)

It comes as many senior allies of Biden, including Nancy Pelosi, have voiced concerns about Biden’s mental acuity and health in the aftermath of the debate. The former House Speaker said voters’ questions on the subject were “legitimate” and called on both candidates to undergo testing.

“I think it’s a legitimate question to say, ‘Is this an episode or is this a condition’,” Pelosi told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, representative Lloyd Doggett of Texas has called for Biden to end his re-election campaign, marking the first time a sitting Democratic member of Congress has supported the president dropping out of the race.

Biden has run “substantially behind” other Democratic candidates in high-stakes races, has trailed Trump in most polls, and then “failed” to expose his Republican rival’s lies during the debate, Doggett said in a Tuesday, also put out on Tuesday. “Our overriding consideration must be who has the best hope of saving our democracy from an authoritarian takeover by a criminal and his gang,” he said.

In an op-ed for Newsweek, former Democratic congressman Tim Ryan called on Vice President Kamala Harris to replace Biden as the the party’s nominee.

However, the optics of Thursday’s debate and Biden’s claims of sleep-deprivation come following accusations that, behind closed doors, the president is said to be a long way from the softly-spoken, timid man who appeared on stage.

An anonymous senior administration official previously told Politico that Biden often unleashes his wrath upon staff, so much so that aides that pull together the president’s formal briefings are known to tiptoe around topics that could spark red-hot fury from him during meetings.

“It’s like, ‘You can’t include that, that will set him off,’ or ‘Put that in, he likes that,’” they said. “Because he is not a pleasant person to be around when he’s being briefed. It’s very difficult, and people are scared s***less of him.”



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