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‘I’m still processing what happened’: Democrats were still reeling from Biden’s debate performance on Friday

The shockwaves from President Joe Biden’s palid, painful and piecemeal debate performance in Atlanta on Thursday could still be felt on Capitol Hill on Friday morning.

While members of Congress are usually anxious to dart out the door on a Friday to make their flights home, Democrats seemed especially unwilling to speak about Biden’s stumbles in the face of former president Donald Trump’s repeated lies.

A snap poll showed that voters overwhelmingly thought Trump won the debate despite his rambling, spewing anti-immigrant vitriol and refusal to answer questions modeators asked. Biden’s performance was so weak that Democratic strategists began floating the idea of replacing him almost immediately afterwards.

It was a sharp contrast from the Thursday before the debate, when everyone in the Democratic Party, including Biden’s sharpest critics on policy, got behind him. Come Friday morning, the atmosphere was markedly different.

Having time to sleep on the debate — even if nobody could actually rest afterward — did not lead to Democrats calming down. If anything, it made them nervy. Some normally chatty Democrats like the progressive Maxwell Frost of Florida rushed onto the floor for votes rather than answer questions; likewise, the moderate Josh Gottheimer seemed willing to chat about the economy for a few seconds but then darted to the floor to vote once asked about Biden.

Biden spoke in Raleigh on Friday after the debate and tellingly, some of the endangered House Democrats from the Tar Heel state stayed in Washington rather than turn up to support him. When The Independent asked Representative Jeff Jackson, who is running for attorney general, what he would say to voters worried about Biden, he said, “I hope they get a

Read more on independent.co.uk