In a highly anticipated face-off, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump participated in the first presidential debate of the 2024 election cycle on Thursday night. Held at CNN’s studio in Atlanta and moderated by Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, the 90-minute event saw both candidates answering questions on key issues such as the economy, healthcare, immigration, the January 6 Capitol attack, and Trump’s recent criminal conviction.



President Biden criticized Trump’s handling of the economy, attributing the economic downturn and inflation to his predecessor’s policies and the pandemic. Biden highlighted his administration’s efforts to lower prices, including reducing insulin costs. In contrast, Trump boasted about the “greatest economy” during his tenure and blamed Biden for high inflation, despite economic growth under Trump being lower than during some previous administrations. Trump’s proposal for a 10% tariff on all foreign products was also debated, with many economists disputing his claim that it wouldn’t drive up prices.


Trump expressed support for the Supreme Court’s decision to preserve access to the abortion pill mifepristone, emphasizing his role in appointing justices who overturned Roe v. Wade. Biden countered Trump’s claims, asserting that most constitutional scholars supported Roe v. Wade. Biden’s performance in this section was marked by confusion, as he mixed up Medicare and Medicaid and struggled with tax rate figures, which Trump mocked.

Immigration and Capitol Attack

Trump accused Biden of allowing criminals and terrorists to cross the border, claiming the U.S. had the “safest border in history” during his presidency. Biden refuted these claims, citing a lack of data to support Trump’s assertions. When asked about the January 6 Capitol attack, Trump deflected, focusing on his administration’s achievements and insisting he called for peaceful actions on that day. Biden criticized Trump for continuing to deny the 2020 election results, calling him a “whiner.”

Sparring Over Presidency

In a heated exchange, both candidates accused each other of being the worst president in history. Trump called Biden the worst president during a discussion on childcare, while Biden cited a survey of political scientists naming Trump as the worst president in American history. Both candidates also addressed concerns about their age, with Biden, 81, pointing to his extensive experience, and Trump, 82, citing his cognitive test results and recent golf victories.

Election Integrity

On the acceptance of election results, Trump hesitated before stating he would accept the results “if it’s a fair and legal and good election,” while reiterating baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 election. Biden dismissed these claims, pointing out that no court had found merit in Trump’s allegations and accusing him of being unable to accept defeat.


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