Democrats call for Joe Biden to quit after faltering election debate against Donald Trump

A stumbling performance by Joe Biden against Donald Trump in their first election debate has sparked a fresh round of calls for the Democrat to consider stepping aside as the party’s nominee.

A raspy and sometimes halting Mr Biden tried repeatedly to confront Mr Trump, as his Republican rival countered the president’s criticism by leaning into falsehoods about the economy, illegal immigration and his role in the January 6 2021 Capitol insurrection.

Mr Biden’s uneven performance, particularly early in the debate, crystallised the concerns of many Americans that, at 81, he is too old to serve as president.

There were renewed calls for the Democrat to consider stepping aside as the party’s nominee ahead of the November election as members of his party fear a return of Mr Trump to the White House.

Mr Biden repeatedly tore into Mr Trump in an apparent effort to provoke him, bringing up everything from the former president’s recent felony conviction, to his alleged insult of First World War veterans, to his weight.

The 78-year-old Mr Trump declined to clearly state he would accept the results of the November election, four years after he promoted conspiracy theories about his loss that culminated in the January 6 insurrection, and repeatedly misstated the record from his time in office.

But Mr Biden’s delivery from the beginning of the debate drew the most attention afterwards. Mr Trump’s allies immediately declared victory, while prominent Democrats publicly questioned whether Mr Biden could move forward.

“I think the panic had set in,” David Axelrod, a longtime advisor to former US president Barack Obama, said on CNN immediately after the debate about Mr Biden’s performance.

“And I think you’re going to hear discussions that, I don’t know will lead to anything, but there are going to be discussions about whether he should continue.”

Another Democratic strategist Said Van Jones, also on CNN, said: “He did not do well at all.”

Rosemarie DeAngelis, a Democrat who watched the debate at a party in South Portland, Maine, said she felt Mr Biden gave the right answers to Mr Trump but “didn’t have the spark that we needed tonight”.


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