The stumbling silences and bizarre answers that could have killed Joe Biden's reelection hopes during car crash debate with Donald Trump | 27 June 2024 | Joe Biden started the first debate with Donald Trump sounding hoarse. It quickly got worse as he lost his train of thought and meandered into silence. For three and a half years the White House has protected Biden, 81, from questions about his frailty, reducing his schedule ahead of arduous foreign trips, keeping reporters at bay, and even swapping out the steps on Air Force One for the shorter, easier stairs. But there is no hiding place during a 90-minute debate in front of the live television cameras. When it was his turn to talk, Biden was barely audible at times. When Trump, 78, was speaking, Biden stood mouth open, his eyes darting from side to side and his jaw slack as if another resident had taken his spot at the jigsaw puzzle table in the games room. When Biden was offered a chance to address questions about his advanced years he offered a rambling answer that veered off into computer chips.

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