Key Moments from Joe Biden’s First Televised Interview Amid Debate Fallout

President Joe Biden had a clear message for American voters during his first one-on-one interview following last week’s debate debacle: He is not backing down.

The president spoke with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Friday to discuss his worrisome performance during his first debate of the 2024 election season, where Biden stood on the same stage as former President Donald Trump for the first time since the candidates ran in 2020.

The roughly 20-minute interview was recorded after Biden held a rally in Madison, Wisconsin, on Friday, during which the president again stood against calls to step down as the Democratic Party’s nominee before November.

“I’m not letting one 90-minute debate wipe out three and a half years of work,” Biden told supporters on Friday. “I’m staying in the race, and I will beat Donald Trump.”

Biden and Stephanpolous in Wisconisn
his Handout image was provided by a third-party organization and may not adhere to Getty Images’ editorial policy.) In this handout photo provided by ABC, U.S. President Joe Biden speaks with ‘This Week’ anchor George…

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Biden Says He Felt ‘Terrible’ At Debate

Friday’s interview immediately dove into questions about Biden’s debate performance, where the president’s low, raspy voice and repeated gaffes reignited concerns about his health and mental well-being.

Biden said that his performance was “a bad episode” and not an “indication of any serious condition.” He also reiterated that he was “exhausted” at the debate from traveling in the days leading up to the event, although Stephanopoulos pressed back on the president’s reasoning, pointing out that he had six days at Camp David to prepare before he took the stage in Atlanta, Georgia.

The president responded that he was “feeling terrible” and that his doctors had run tests, including one for COVID-19, while he was preparing for the debate to see if he “had some infection” or “virus.”

“I didn’t, I just had a really bad cold,” he added.

Biden Says He Doesn’t Need a Cognitive Test

The president was also asked if he would agree to undergo a cognitive test to quell concerns about whether he is mentally fit to serve another four years, something that Trump and his supporters have called for on multiple occasions.

Biden said, however, that “no one said I had to” take a test and that his physicians have said that he’s “good.” When pressed further by Stephanopoulos, the president answered, “I have a cognitive test every single day.”

“Every day, I have that test. Everything I do,” he continued. “You know, not only am I campaigning, I’m running the world. And that’s not—sounds like hyperbole, but we are the central nation in the world.”

Stephanopoulos then asked the president if his “answer right now” to calls for him to undergo a cognitive test was a “no.” Biden repeated, “No, I’ve already done that.”

Biden Will Only Drop Out ‘If God Almighty’ Tells Him To

Biden was adamant throughout the interview that he is the best choice to “defeat” Trump in November, and repeatedly pressed back on polling data pointed to by Stephanopoulos that shows the former president in the lead since last week’s debate. The interviewer also highlighted Biden’s slipping approval rate, which according to FiveThirtyEight sat at 36.9 percent as of Friday.

When asked if the polls are an indication that 2024 would be “much tougher to win,” Biden responded, “Not when you’re running against a pathological liar.”

Stephanopoulos later asked the president if he was “convinced” he could not beat Trump, “will you stand down?”

“If the Lord Almighty comes down and tells me that, I might do that,” Biden said.

Biden Downplays Reports on Democrats Calling For Him to Step Down

Stephanopoulos also asked about reports that a growing number of Democrats are skeptical of Biden’s reelection chances.

As of Friday, four sitting Democratic members of Congress have said publicly that the president should step aside to allow the party to choose another nominee. Reports circulated hours before Biden’s interview as well that Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, is planning to gather Democratic senators next week to discuss concerns about Biden’s 2024 bid, according to sources who spoke with The New York Times and the Washington Post.

Biden said, however, that the “vast majority” of the Democratic Party is not looking for him to stand down.

“I don’t doubt there’s some folks there,” he continued. “Have you ever seen a group at times, elected officials, running for office that aren’t a little worried? Have you ever seen that? I have not.”

When asked if he would step down if he was “told reliably, from your allies, from your friends and supporters in the Democratic Party” that there are concerns about his chances for reelection, Biden said “I’m not going to answer that question. It’s not going to happen.”