Biden takes blame for ‘bad night’ in debate against Trump: ‘My fault, no one else’s fault’

President Biden is facing intense scrutiny over his health and viability as a presidential candidate as he sits down with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos.

President Biden maintained that his disastrous debate performance last month against former President Trump was nothing more than a “bad episode” or a “bad night” rather than a sign of something more serious and suggested he alone was to blame for it, making the remarks on Friday during his first major television interview since the debate debacle.

Amid mounting speculation about whether Biden is fit to be president – both for the remainder of his term and for the four-year term he’s seeking – ABC News host George Stephanopoulos asked Biden if his performance was “a bad episode or the sign of a more serious condition?”

“It was a bad episode,” Biden said. “No indication of a serious condition. I was exhausted. I didn’t listen to my instincts in terms of preparing. It was a bad night.”


The president’s answer was not quite clear when he was asked what was going through his head during the debate, but he maintained that his performance was his fault alone. He also accused Trump of lying “28 times” during the debate.

“The whole way I prepared – nobody’s fault. Mine. Nobody’s fault but mine,” Biden said. “I prepared what I usually would do sitting down, as I did coming back with foreign leaders or the National Security Council, for explicit detail. 

“And I realized partway through that, you know, that –  I could quote it, the New York Times had me down at ten points before the debate. Nine now, or whatever the hell it is. The fact of the matter is, that when I looked at, is that, he also lied 28 times. I couldn’t, I mean, the way the debate ran, not – my fault. No one else’s fault. No one else’s fault.”

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When asked if he had watched the debate since it occurred, Biden said, “I don’t think I did, no.”

The president also said again that he had been sick during the debate, and suggested he was so ill that his doctors thought he might have COVID-19.

“I was feeling terrible,” Biden said. “Matter of fact, the docs with me, I asked if they did a COVID test because they were trying to figure out what’s wrong. They did a test to see whether or not I had some infection, you know, a virus. I didn’t. Just had a really bad cold.”

Biden taking the blame for the debate performance comes after multiple reports that suggested the president’s inner circle was pointing fingers at the aides and staff members who prepared him for the showdown with Trump.

The clip that aired on World News Tonight is a preview of Biden’s primetime interview with Stephanopoulos, which is set to air in full on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.


The stakes for the sitdown are high; the 81-year-old Biden is facing mounting pressure to step aside as the Democrats’ 2024 presidential nominee. 

His performance during last month’s CNN Presidential Debate has led to even staunch Biden allies questioning whether he’s in a worsening mental state. A growing chorus of elected Democrats are publicly airing fears that he will lose to Trump and could possibly drag down Democrats in critical House and Senate races across the country. 

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Biden, for his part, has declared several times that he will not bow out.

“Let me say this as clearly as I can: I’m staying in the race. I will beat Donald Trump,” Biden told a supportive crowd in Madison, Wisconsin just before he sat down for his pre-taped interview. 


He also addressed the CNN faceoff, telling voters: “I’m not letting one 90-minute debate wipe out 3½ years of work.”

Meanwhile, three House Democrats have now publicly called for Biden to make way for a new nominee: Reps. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas.

There were also multiple letters circulating this week among House Democrats that would call on Biden to step aside, two sources familiar with those discussions told Fox News Digital on Wednesday.

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