Biden blames foreign travel for debate debacle, says he almost fell asleep on stage

President Biden on Tuesday blamed foreign travel for his poor debate performance, saying that he almost fell asleep on the stage last week.

“I wasn’t very smart. I decided to travel around the world a couple of times … shortly before the debate,” he said while talking to donors at a fundraiser in Virginia. “I didn’t listen to my staff … and then I almost fell asleep on stage.”

The president was in Camp David for debate prep for a whole week before it, traveling there on June 20. He left Camp David on the morning of June 27 to travel to Atlanta for the debate.

He returned from a trip to Italy for the Group of Seven summit on June 14, six days before heading to Camp David. Before the trip to Italy, he traveled to France for the D-Day anniversary, which is on June 6.

“It’s not an excuse but an explanation,” Biden said Tuesday.

The president also told the room full of donors that he was sorry for the performance but stressed that it was “critical” to win the election.

His remarks at the fundraiser were about six minutes long, which is shorter than the typical length of fundraiser remarks. The president tends to speak openly and candidly in rooms full of donors.

The president’s dismal debate against former President Trump, during which he struggled to finish sentences and spoke in a quiet, raspy voice, has led to shock and panic among Democrats, with some operatives, former aides and a House Democrat calling on him to step aside.

The White House said on debate night that the president had a cold, and on Tuesday, it dodged questions about the president’s mental state.

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