Biden stumbles, Trump Rants in Trainwreck 2024 Presidential Debate

The median point in the 2024 presidential election cycle saw presumptive candidates former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden bout it out with personal attacks and misinformation, leaving voters with more questions than answers.

With hot-button topics such as abortion, healthcare and economic inequity being a top priority for Black Americans––who in 2020 voted more than any presidential election since 2012––the 2024 presidential election continues to divide people between parties.

CNN hosted Thursday night’s debate, despite refusing media credentials to all Black-owned media outlets, with many questions that centered around communities of color. 

“You’ve got to understand the civics of this moment,” Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX) told Black journalists during a Biden-Harris press gaggle addressing concerns. EBONY attended the informal press conference, along with Black Enterprise, Atlanta Black Star, and Atlanta Daily World. The Shade Room was also invited to attend.

As Black voters begin to sway left or right in the months leading up to the presidential election, these are the takeaways that should be considered. 

Biden’s hoarse, unfocused speaking

President Biden’s cognitive ability remains a concern among voters, with some questioning if he would be on performance-enhancing drugs during the debate. Several times, he stumbled over his words, repeating phrases in a hushed tone.

Trump’s rebuttal to Biden’s speech when discussing border patrol was, “I don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence, and I don’t think he knows what he said either,” was one of many personal attacks against the president as he frequently struggled to express his thoughts. He also said he wanted the President to “take a cognitive test.”

The scrutinization of Biden’s speech further concerns voters that his age and mental state make him unfit to run for president. The President did note, however, that Trump was only three years younger than him.

The focus on inequities in the Black community

Both candidates were questioned on their respective administration’s failure to make progress in addressing economic disparities in the Black community. Biden ran down a list of highlights such as $16 million awarded to HBCUs earlier this year, the establishment of more small Black-owned businesses, the issuing of more Federal Pell Grants and lowering Black unemployment. He finished by saying there was still more work to be done.

Trump’s rebuttal to addressing Black issues––like many others throughout the night––was that immigrants from Mexico were stealing Black and Hispanic jobs and raping and killing Americans and that Biden was allowing it to happen. There were also several attacks saying that Biden wanted to destroy Medicaid and Social Security. Still, there was little said about addressing inequities in the Black community.

In addition, Biden also called out Trump’s tax cut to the “one percent” as a waste of $2 trillion, while highlighting the reduction of prescription drug prices.

Trump’s legal drama at the forefront

Four years ago, it was about tax returns. Now, it’s about 34 felony convictions and three additional active investigations. A hefty portion of the debate was spent addressing the legal issues of the former president, with Biden calling Trump a convicted felon to his face.

Also addressed, was the concern Americans have about Trump’s influence on the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and whether he would let it happen again. He falsely stated a small number of people went to the Capitol “in many cases were ushered in by police,” when in fact, Jan. 6 was the deadliest assault on the Capitol in over 200 years, well-documented with photos, videos, interviews and a staggering death toll.

Biden also accused Trump of having sex with a porn star (which Trump immediately denied) and having “the morals of an alley cat.”

Addressing abortion and Roe v. Wade

Coming off of the Supreme Court’s decisions to temporarily reinstate emergency abortions in Idaho and preserve access to the abortion pill mifepristone, Trump said he would not ban abortion medication and that he believes “the states are working it out.”

In rebuttal, Biden highlighted Georgia’s six-week abortion ban as an example of the “horrible” decision Trump made by instating three conservative judges that overturned Roe v. Wade two years ago, a decision that impacts the 40% of Black women who make up abortion procedures in the US. 

What was missing?

The constant back-and-forth between the two candidates got in the way of substantial answers to important questions, with several being missed altogether.

Despite Jake Tapper asking twice, Trump refused to answer questions about how he planned to make childcare more affordable. Biden’s exception to this was touting his ability to reduce childcare costs by half when discussing his administration’s failing Black Americans. 

What was completely absent from the discussion on the economy was that housing costs continue to skyrocket across the country, with no acknowledgment that Black homebuyers are more likely to be denied mortgage loans than white homebuyers.

In addition, there was no discussion on the Supreme Court’s decision to end affirmative action or the dozens of bills opposing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in higher education, leading to layoffs and closures in at least 12 states. There was also little discussion on the solution to gun violence, despite children and teen deaths nearly doubling from 2019 to 2021 under both the Biden and Trump administrations.

Updated: June 28, 2024 — 12:02 pm