Shock and Laughter: World Reacts to Biden vs. Trump Debate


Global Reactions: Biden vs. Trump Debate Leaves Allies and Rivals Stunned

HONG KONG — The first presidential debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump has sent shockwaves through the international community, offering little reassurance to America’s restless allies.

The stark contrast between the candidates’ visions for addressing global challenges—ranging from multiple wars and rising geopolitical tensions to doubts over America’s commitment to its allies—was on full display Thursday night. Yet, it was Biden’s performance that grabbed global headlines.

The debate, watched closely by allies anxious about their future ties with the U.S. and by autocratic governments eyeing a chance to challenge the U.S.-led global order, left many unimpressed.

“Personal attacks, hazy memory, mocking each other… this debate was very entertaining for many Chinese people,” commented Hu Xijin, a nationalist Chinese commentator, in a post on X. He added, “Objectively speaking, the low-quality performance of these two old men was a negative advertisement for Western democracy.”

The spotlight, however, was on Biden. His shaky performance has already triggered calls from within his own party for him to reconsider his campaign. The idea of Trump returning to the White House is alarming for many U.S. allies in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere, given the strained relations during his previous term.

A former senior British official, who had worked with Biden for many years, expressed deep concern over the president’s “physical deterioration,” noting how thin and weak Biden appeared, and how “confused and inarticulate” his responses were.

“I was absolutely horrified by how poorly he performed,” the former British official said. “I expected a few slip-ups, but that was catastrophic.”

Biden’s performance has prompted British diplomats to urgently prepare for the possibility of dealing with Trump in the White House once again, the former official added.

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