President Biden blames ‘bad cold’ for disastrous debate performance in ABC interview

President Joe Biden said during an interview on ABC Friday night that his damaging debate performance against Donald Trump last week was just “a bad episode,” adding he was suffering from a “really bad cold” in the days leading up to the event.

The 81-year-old Democratic nominee sat down for an exclusive chat with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, which was previewed in a clip shared during the station’s 6:30 p.m. news segment. Biden’s full interview is slated to air at 8 p.m.

In the clip, Biden admitted he has not watched his performance from the June 27 debate, but claims he was “exhausted” and “feeling terrible” while preparing for it.

He said his doctors did multiple tests on him to figure out if he had some kind of virus but it turned out to be a “bad cold.”

When Stephanopoulos pressed him on if he knew “how badly it was going” during the debate, Biden appeared to sidestep the question, answering that his performance was “nobody’s fault but mine.”

After being pressed on his apparent troubles at the very beginning of the debate, the president shrugged off the question, responding, “Well, I just had a bad night.”

The interview was Biden’s first with a major media network since the debate, and comes as he continues his campaign in Wisconsin this weekend.

ABC News was originally planning to air the sit-down on Sunday, but felt uncomfortable holding onto the interview for two days, according to a source who spoke with CNN.

A network insider told the outlet that ABC decided to make it a “primetime special” airing the same day the interview took place, because of the story being of “national interest.”

In the past week, the president has faced increasing pressure from members of his own party to drop of out the race. Still others, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, have voiced their continued support of him remaining the Democratic nominee.

During his rally in Madison on Friday, Biden emphatically told the crowd: “Let me say this as clearly as I can, I am staying in the race … I will beat Donald Trump.”