Trump blasts 'stupid' Biden at post-debate rally in Virginia

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Former President Trump on Friday piled on President Biden over his widely criticized debate performance, suggesting it could be “a big moment” in moving undecided voters in his direction.

Trump rallied supporters in Virginia, which a Republican presidential candidate hasn’t won since 2004 but that his campaign has argued is in play in November. The former president used his debate with Biden from a night earlier to slam his rival with familiar attacks on immigration and the economy and insulting him as a “stupid, stupid, stupid man.”

“Despite the fact that crooked Joe Biden spent the entire week at Camp David resting, working, studying—he studied very hard. He studied so hard that he didn’t know what the hell he was doing,” Trump told supporters in Chesapeake. 

“He got the debate rules that he wanted. He got the date that he wanted. He got the network that he wanted with the [moderators] that he wanted,” Trump continued. “No amount of rest or rigging could help him defend his atrocious record. It’s not defensible.” 

Trump and his allies spent the hours after the debate basking in headlines about Biden’s flop and the subsequent panic among Democrats over whether he should be replaced atop the ticket.

Biden’s campaign had requested the June debate, seeking a jolt to what had been a stagnant presidential race thus far with Trump narrowly leading in most battleground states.

But the debate was largely a disaster for Biden, whose voice was raspy for much of the 90 minutes. His delivery was frequently halting and at times he lost his train of thought or struggled to make his point clearly.

Democrats speculated after the debate about whether Biden could or should step aside, though Trump said Friday he did not think that would happen.

“Joe Biden’s problem is not his age, it’s not his anything, really, he’s got no problem other than his competence,” said Trump, who at 78 is just three years younger than Biden. “He’s grossly incompetent.” 

Trump’s debate answers were frequently littered with falsehoods or misleading statements, and he did not commit to accepting the 2024 election regardless of the outcome.

But the former president mostly avoided the kind of repeated self-inflicted wounds that have plagued him in past debates, and his missteps later in the evening were overshadowed by Biden’s stumbles.

On Friday, Trump aimed to translate the momentum from debate night into enthusiasm in Virginia, a potential pick-up opportunity in November, and his campaign as a whole.

“I think last night was a big moment for people with common sense that want to see American be great again, want to put America first,” Trump said.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) addressed the crowd roughly an hour before Trump arrived.

Youngkin mostly kept his distance from Trump during his successful 2021 campaign for the governor’s mansion, and he generated buzz as a potential alternative to Trump in the 2024 presidential contest. But Youngkin opted not to launch a presidential campaign, saying he was committed to serving the remainder of his term as governor.

On Friday, he delivered a full-throated endorsement of Trump, praising his four years in office and attacking Biden as “weak” and hitting him on issues like immigration, the economy and foreign policy.

“Mr. president, eight years ago you left your business career and you built a great America. And in Virginia we are going to work to re-elect Donald Trump back into the White House,” Youngkin said in remarks delivered before Trump arrived at the rally site.

Trump returned the favor by recognizing Youngkin during his own remarks and inviting him on stage.

Polling has shown Virginia could be a much closer race than it was in 2020, when Biden carried it by 10 percentage points over Trump.

A Fox News poll of Virginia registered voters conducted June 1-4 showed Biden and Trump tied with 48 percent each. A Roanoke College poll conducted in mid-May showed the two candidates tied in a head-to-head match-up, and it found Biden leading Trump by 2 percentage points when third-party candidates were added.

Biden on Friday held a post-debate rally in North Carolina, where he attacked Trump as a liar and sought to quiet concerns from some in his own party about his future on the ticket.

“Folks, 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,” Biden said at a campaign rally in Raleigh. 

“But I know what I do know,” he continued. “I know how to tell the truth. I know right from wrong. And I know how to do this job. I know how to get things done. And I know what millions of Americans know: When you get knocked down, you get back up.”

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