Biden’s Debate Night Was Bad — His Tuesday May Have Been Even Worse

(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Reagan Reese White House Correspondent
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The 24 hours after a noticeably more orange President Joe Biden addressed the public for five minutes and left without answering questions have not gone well.

When Biden took the debate stage Thursday evening, he was pale with a raspy voice as he stumbled through answers and appeared to be lost. All but thirty minutes into the debate, Democrats descended into panic, calling for the leader of their party to drop out of the presidential race with just four months until election day. Since, the Biden campaign has been in damage control mode, and faced an even rougher Tuesday.(RELATED: Panicked Dems Scramble For Biden Replacement After ‘Disaster’ Debate Performance)

The president, seemingly more tan, gave unplanned remarks on Monday to address the Supreme Court’s ruling on presidential immunity. Since his first major appearance post-debate, Biden’s press secretary has taken questions on whether he has dementia, stories have published about concern for the president’s mental fitness and internal polling has leaked showing the implications his performance might have.

About an hour before White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre faced reporters in the briefing room for the first time since the debate, a few troublesome stories dropped. First, Democratic Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett became the first congressional Democrat to publicly call for Biden to drop out of the race.

Then, NBC News reported that Hunter Biden, recently convicted on three felony gun charges, has been joining his father in meetings with top aides. The first son reportedly started popping in on calls and meetings with his father after the family returned from its weekend vacation.

“What the hell is happening?” a person familiar with the matter told the outlet about the reaction from the White House on the first son’s appearances.

Jean-Pierre, who said she saw the reporting as she was entering the briefing, told reporters that Hunter Biden had come off a vacation with his dad at Camp David over the weekend and did attend meetings on his Monday speech preparation.

The NBC article was not the only time the press secretary had to respond to reporting happening in and around the briefing room. While taking questions from the lectern, the New York Times posted an article detailing concerns that Biden’s mental lapses have become more frequent. (RELATED: White House Officially Claims Biden Has Made 148 Mistakes During 2024 Public Remarks)

Several current and former officials alongside other who met him away from the public eye told The New York Times that Biden is noticeably more dazed, tired and easily loses track of the conversation. Though the president appears to often be alert, sources told the NYT that Biden’s mental lapses appear to be becoming more common, more obvious and more concerning.

Jean-Pierre, who hadn’t yet seen the reporting, responded using her regular interactions with Biden saying she sees a “strong, resolute president who is always willing and able to work on behalf of the American people.”

Internal Democrat polling also leaked ahead of the briefing, showing just how much Biden’s stumbling on the debate stage could affect the presidential race. The internal polling memo, obtained by Puck News, showed that New Hampshire, Virginia and New Mexico — states projected to go Biden — are now up for grabs following the debate.

Perhaps even more damaging, Trump’s lead within key swing states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina and Wisconsin grew, the polling shows, according to Puck News.

The questions on Hunter’s meetings and the NYT reporting weren’t outliers in the briefing, as nearly every question pertained to Biden’s debate performance and his mental fitness for office.

“Does President Biden at 81-years-old have Alzheimer’s, any form of dementia or degenerative illness that would call these sorts of lapses?”

“I have an answer for you. Are you ready for it? It’s a no. And I hope you’re asking the other guy the same exact question,” Jean-Pierre snapped back.

Jean-Pierre even took questions on the spin the White House put out regarding the president’s poor performance. While Biden was coughing on the debate stage, several outlets began reporting that the president had a cold that contributed to his slow start.

“What medications was the president taking in the days or hours leading up to the debate?” a reporter asked.

“He was not taking any cold medication,” Jean-Pierre responded.

“Was he taking any medication? Would it have interfered with his performance?” the reporter followed up.

“He was not taking any cold medication, that is what I can speak to from his doctor and what he stated to us,” Jean-Pierre added.

The press secretary did not have any information to share with reporters on whether the president was examined by a doctor following the debate, or since his February physical or if he had received a neurological exam after his performance.

With the White House and the president’s campaign on defense, Chief-of-Staff Jeff Zients is reportedly poised to hold an all-staff meeting on Wednesday.

Biden, though giving two addresses in Washington, D.C., has yet to answer questions on the response to his debate performance. But amid the backlash, the president is admitting his age at campaign events — in an attempt to contrast his record to former President Donald Trump.

“I know I’m not a young man. I don’t walk as easy as I used to. I don’t speak as smoothly as I used to. I don’t debate as well as I used to, but I know what I do know — I know how to tell the truth,” Biden said during a Friday campaign rally.

Despite the president’s attempt at reassurance, his own staff is reportedly feeling anger, sadness, irritation and a sense of resolve over his debate showing, Axios reported on Tuesday.

“Everyone is freaking the fuck out,” an official told the outlet.