Trump criticizes Biden’s debating skills

In 2012, Donald Trump said that then-Vice President Joe Biden and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul D. Ryan, had a virtual tie in the debate. This year, Trump said that now-President Biden’s State of the Union address was the worst in history. And last month, Trump called Biden “the worst debater I’ve ever faced. He can’t string two sentences together.”

But ahead of the first 2024 debate between Trump and Biden scheduled for Thursday, none of those previous comments seem to apply anymore.

According to Trump and his surrogates, Biden was suddenly a seasoned debater who “beat” Ryan in a 2012 debate and demonstrated an ability to thrive in bright lights during the State of the Union address.

It’s normal for politicians and their campaigns to build hype around their opponents ahead of a debate, but Trump’s shift was as breathtakingly rapid as it was transparent.

Biden vs. Ryan debate, 2012

Thursday: “All I can say is this: I watched him and Paul D. Ryan play and he dominated Paul D. Ryan. Paul D. Ryan was sipping water, sipping water left and right.”

After the 2012 debate: “The debate was close, with no clear winner. However, Ryan’s final statements were a little strong. What do you think?”

Thursday: “I’m not underestimating him. … I think he’s going to be a valuable debater.”

Saturday: “He’s sleeping right now because they want to get him hard, so he’ll get an injection in his butt a little while before the debate. … He’ll be ready.” (Despite Trump’s repeated suggestions, there is no evidence that Biden has used or plans to use performance-enhancing drugs.)

May 15: “Villain Joe Biden is the worst debater I’ve ever encountered. He can’t even string two sentences together!”

May 15: “I think he really needs to debate. We should probably get it over with quickly. We should probably get it over with quickly so he can debate. He’s not going to get any better.”

May 17: “He can’t walk. He can’t get off the stage. He can’t string two sentences together.”

Biden’s State of the Union Address

Trump’s Vice Presidential Candidate North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican, said Sunday: “This guy has the ability, and we’ve seen it. We saw him in the debates four years ago. We saw him in the State of the Union this year. We saw him step up when it’s needed. … America is a force to be reckoned with. [Union]He stood up and spoke forcefully for over an hour.”

During the speech, Trump said, “He was very angry, but that’s a symptom of certain problems, of old age. He got over it. He’s still breathing. He didn’t have to be put in a straitjacket and carried out. Other than that, I think he did a terrible job.”

President Trump, March 16: “This is one of the worst speeches anybody here has ever heard.”

“Just look at that awful State of the Union address. The worst president in history gave the worst State of the Union address in history,” President Trump said on March 9.

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