Biden’s Debate Performance Sparks Global Concern, Fuels Trump Momentum

Biden's supporters had hoped the debate would dispel concerns about his age, but his hoarse voice and verbal missteps only bolstered Trump's position, according to politicians, analysts, and investors.

Joe Biden‘s performance in the U.S. presidential debate on Thursday elicited stunned reactions globally on Friday, with some calling for him to step aside.

This has likely left some of America’s closest allies bracing for Donald Trump’s potential return.

Biden’s supporters had hoped the debate would dispel concerns about his age, but his hoarse voice and verbal missteps only bolstered Trump’s position, according to politicians, analysts, and investors.

Global newspapers were critical. France’s Le Monde likened Biden to a shipwreck, while Britain’s Daily Mirror described his performance as a “gaffe-strewn nightmare.”

Germany’s Bild newspaper declared “Good night, Joe!” and the Sydney Morning Herald stated, “Trump monstered Biden. The Democrats can’t win with Joe.”

“Joe Biden can’t do it,” remarked Matteo Renzi, a centrist and former Italian prime minister close to the Democrats.

Renzi praised Biden’s honorable service to the United States but added, “He doesn’t deserve an inglorious ending. Changing horses is a duty for everyone.”

Japan and South Korea, key U.S. allies in Asia, had strained relations with Trump’s administration due to his demands for increased military payments and trade tensions.

Countries like Japan and Germany are preparing for a possible Trump return as his campaign gains momentum.

“Mr. Trump didn’t win, but Mr. Biden might have imploded,” said Kunihiko Miyake, a Japanese former diplomat and research director at the Canon Institute for Global Studies.

“Unlike eight years ago, we are much more prepared, as are other European and Asian allies. Still, Mr. Trump is unpredictable.”

Peter Lee, a research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, anticipates Trump will be “very tough” on allies, pressuring them to increase defense spending.

Trump’s previous term saw a tariff war with China, and he has suggested imposing tariffs of 60% or higher on all Chinese goods if he wins the November 5 election.

Overseas firms, particularly automakers, are wary of the heightened possibility of Trump’s return due to his tariff-related policies.

Stephen Lee, chief economist at Meritz Securities in Seoul, noted that Trump might impose tariffs against other countries under the concept of American exceptionalism.

In Europe, Trump’s skepticism of NATO has caused anxiety amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Guy Verhofstadt, a member of the European Parliament, lamented the state of American democracy, posting pictures of Biden and Trump with the caption, “American democracy killed before our eyes by gerontocracy!”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz previously supported Biden’s re-election, but a senior defense figure in the ruling coalition criticized Biden’s performance and urged Democrats to find a stronger candidate.

Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann of the FDP party stated, “The fact that a man like Trump could become president again because the Democrats are unable to put up a strong candidate would be a historic tragedy.”

During the debate, Trump accused Biden of failing to stand up to China on trade and claimed that China’s Xi Jinping, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin “don’t respect” Biden. Biden countered that Trump’s tariff proposals would increase costs for American consumers and that Trump “cuddles up” to the likes of Kim and Putin.

The Kremlin declined to comment on the debate, calling it an internal U.S. matter. Keir Starmer, leader of the British Labour Party, emphasized the strength of the U.S.-UK relationship, regardless of the individuals in power.

In Sydney, experts attending a workshop titled “Trump 2.0” concluded that the debate was a disaster for Biden. Peter Dean, a professor at the United States Studies Centre in Sydney, noted, “The mood has changed considerably after the debate, and the general view is that preparing for a Trump 2.0 is now the smart move.”