Photos show Americans' horrified reactions to the Biden-Trump debate

  • Joe Biden and Donald Trump faced off in the first 2024 presidential debate.

  • Biden's poor performance sparked panic among Democrats, and Trump lied throughout.

  • Photographers across the US captured viewers' reactions to the debate ranging from dread to alarm.

Across the US, many viewers of the first 2024 presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump appeared to find the spectacle difficult to watch.

As Biden's convoluted answers and poor performance sparked panic among Democrats, Trump dodged questions in favor of offering lies and misleading statements about his own political record. At one point, the candidates argued about who was a better golfer.

Photographers across the US captured Americans' reactions to the debate, ranging from shock and disappointment to frustration and alarm.

At a debate watch party at Broadway Bowl in South Portland, Maine, Karen Sellinger appeared exasperated as Trump spoke.

Two women with pained expressions, one with her hands on her head and another with her mouth open in shock.
Karen Sellinger and her partner Bonnie Weissberg reacted to comments by Donald Trump during a debate watch party at Broadway Bowl in South Portland, Maine.Robert F. Bukaty/AP

Rosemarie DeAngelus, another Broadway Bowl attendee, told the Associated Press that Biden "just didn't have the spark that we needed tonight."

A patron draped in an American flag at a pub in San Francisco seemingly struggled to keep his composure.

A man wearing an American flag baseball caps reacts with a grimace during the first presidential debate.
A patron reacted during a watch party for the first presidential debate of the 2024 presidential election.JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

Viewers at home weren't the only ones struggling to make sense of the debate. Prominent Democrats, including former senior Obama White House advisor David Axelrod and Biden's former White House communications director Kate Bedingfield, also lamented Biden's performance on CNN.

Sean Cannon, who watched the debate at the Old Louisville Tavern in Kentucky, hid his face in his hands as the candidates traded barbs.

A man puts his hand over his face during the first presidential debate in 2024.
Sean Cannon watched the presidential debate in Louisville, Kentucky.Jon Cherry/AP

Cannon told BI this photo was taken as Trump and Biden argued over their golfing skills.

"I think that's what was actually happening, because it felt like I was beginning to dissociate a little with how ridiculous the entire moment was," Cannon said.

Another viewer at the Old Louisville Tavern, Amy McKinley, took a similar position while wearing a red "Make lying wrong again" baseball cap.

A woman wearing a green shirt and a red hat that reads "Make Lying Young Again" buries her face in her hands at a dinner table.
Amy McKinley, a business owner, wore a hat that read "Make Lying Wrong Again" during a watch party at Old Louisville Tavern in Kentucky.Jon Cherry

CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale estimated that Trump said at least 30 false or misleading statements during the debate, while Biden said nine.

A viewer at a watch party in Washington, DC, placed her hand over her mouth during the debate.

Three people watching TV, one woman squinting, one covering her mouth, and a man looking up with a slight smile.
A watch party at Shaws Tavern in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Shaw's Tavern, a gastropub located just under 2 miles from the White House, hosted the watch party.

At a Young Republicans' watch party in New York, audience members displayed a range of reactions.

Viewers react in disbelief as they watch the first 2024 presidential debate.
Trump supporters reacted during the Young Republicans' presidential debate watch party.Andres Kudacki/AP

Despite numerous false statements, Trump is widely regarded to have won the presidential debate against Biden, who appeared frail and disoriented.

Watchers appeared nervous at an event hosted by the Miami Freedom Project in Florida.

People react in horror as they watch the debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in 2024.
People reacted as they watched the debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump in Miami.Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Trump won Florida in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.

A poor debate performance doesn't necessarily spell doom for a presidential campaign, but it doesn't help, either.

People watch the CNN presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden at a bar in Washington, DC.
People watched the presidential debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In 2012, Barack Obama's first presidential debate with Mitt Romney proved disastrous with the incumbent president appearing unprepared and annoyed during the event, CNN reported. Obama still went on to defeat Romney and win a second term.

However, the 2024 debate was viewed as Biden's chance to come out strong and assuage voters' concerns about his age and fitness, but his poor performance failed to do so, reigniting speculation about potential replacements if Biden drops out of the race.

Read the original article on Business Insider