Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Let’s revisit this prescient Jon Stewart Daily Show clip after that wild Trump-Biden debate

Published Jun 28th, 2024 6:12PM EDT
Jon Stewart
Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

President Biden did not have a great night last night. As I write these words, audience figures for the first 2024 presidential debate on CNN between Biden and Donald Trump have just come in and revealed that at least 73 million total viewers watched the matchup — making it the highest-rated program in CNN’s history. That is to say: A record-breaking audience got to see first-hand the manifestation of what not only Trump but some Democrats privately grouse about, which is that Biden has lost a step or two and is generally too old to keep doing this.

That’s actually the chatter all over political Twitter today, with some people even questioning whether or not there’s time to replace Biden, and likewise what might happen if Democrats ride it out with him.

One thing about last night that particularly struck me, in addition to the side-by-sides that presented Trump as a snarling and pugnacious fighter compared to Biden’s mouth-agape, speech-slurred incumbent, is the following: It was only a few months ago that Daily Show host Jon Stewart did a monologue in which he unapologetically stated the obvious. That both contenders are objectively too old for the demands associated with being the leader of the free world, and that wanting your guy to win in spite of his decline is not the most, shall we say, ideal stance to take.

Predictably, Stewart was excoriated by the left for that monologue, which you can watch in full below. Any criticism of Biden, to some people on the left, is apparently a de facto argument in favor of Trump, no matter how legitimate that criticism of Biden is. A Wall Street Journal story weeks later, headlined “Behind Closed Doors, Biden Shows Signs of Slipping,” tried to make the same case as Stewart did, bolstered with quotes from Biden supporters who insist: You all just don’t get it. You don’t see him in private. You don’t see the vigorous leader that we see.

The problem with that argument, as Stewart explains, is that it doesn’t account for what ordinary Americans can see in front of them, live, with their own eyes. As Stewart jokingly asks at one point during his monologue, could Biden’s handlers maybe bring that version of the president from out behind closed doors? Or at least, I don’t know, film him? Give people some indication that that version actually exists, and you’re just not spouting canned lines?

Reportedly, Biden’s poor performance last night was due to the president having a cold (if you believe the anonymous sources speaking to outlets like The Hill). Or, you could go with Variety’s take, instead, with their story today presenting a very different Biden who’s apparently roaring back into action on the campaign trail (headline — “Biden Jumps Back Onto Campaign Trail With Renewed Energy After Disastrous Debate”) I guess he got over that cold pretty fast once the debate was over and the pressure was off.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.