Biden Attributes Debate Performance to Extensive Travel

US President Joe Biden has attributed his lackluster performance in the first presidential debate with Donald Trump to extensive international travel.

Biden, 81, had previously blamed his poor showing on a cold and inadequate preparation by his staff. During the CNN-hosted debate, the president appeared weary and confused, struggling with awkward pauses and inaccuracies in his statements.

Numerous commentators, including both Republicans and Democrats, have agreed that Trump emerged as the victor. A CBS News/YouGov poll conducted after the debate found that 72% of registered voters do not believe Biden possesses the “mental and cognitive health necessary to serve as president.”

Several media outlets have reported that top Democratic donors are advocating for Biden to be replaced as the party’s nominee ahead of the November election. Multiple reporters and at least one Democratic lawmaker have publicly urged the president to withdraw from the race.

Addressing supporters at a fundraiser in McLean, Virginia, Biden stated, “I wasn’t very smart. I decided to travel around the world a couple of times… shortly before the debate,” as cited by Politico.

The president acknowledged regret for not heeding his staff’s advice, adding that his extensive travel led him to nearly “falling asleep on stage.”

In early June, Biden attended the D-Day commemorations in France, followed by a G7 meeting in Italy on June 12. He then traveled to Los Angeles for a fundraiser before returning to Washington DC 11 days before the debate. During this period, Biden was reportedly engaged in active preparation for the encounter with Trump, including rehearsals with his aides.

Following the debate, First Lady Jill Biden suggested during a fundraiser that her husband was not feeling well, but insisted that his performance should not overshadow his presidency overall.

Late last month, Axios, quoting an anonymous source close to Biden, claimed that his team attributed the president’s poor performance to “over-preparation and relying on minutiae when all that mattered was vigor and energy.” The campaign allegedly blamed Biden’s aides for preparing him for the “wrong debate.”

Around the same time, CBS News cited an unnamed senior official as stating that Biden had a cold, explaining his raspy voice during the debate.

Campaign spokesperson Seth Schuster has maintained that Biden is not withdrawing from the race.