New York Times calls on Biden to quit race after disastrous debate

A defiant Joe Biden has attacked Donald Trump at a rally a day after the president's "shocking" performance in a head-to-head debate.

His showing in the debate against Trump on Thursday night was described as an "unmitigated disaster" by some in his own party after he paused and stumbled his way through, prompting calls for him to step down.

Adding to those calls, The New York Times urged the president to quit the race to give another candidate a better chance at defeating Trump.

"Mr Biden has been an admirable president," the newspaper said in a piece by its editorial board.

"But the greatest public service Mr Biden can now perform is to announce that he will not continue to run for re-election."

It added: "As it stands, the president is engaged in a reckless gamble. There are Democratic leaders better equipped to present clear, compelling and energetic alternatives to a second Trump presidency.

"There is no reason for the party to risk the stability and security of the country by forcing voters to choose between Mr Trump's deficiencies and those of Mr Biden."

'I can do this job'

Mr Biden has tried to quell anxieties since his performance. At a rally in North Carolina, he appeared to acknowledge the criticism, but struck a defiant tone.

"I don't walk as easy as I used to, I don't speak as smoothly as I used to, I don't debate as well as I used to, but I know what I do know," said Mr Biden. "I know how to tell the truth."

"I give you my word as a Biden, I wouldn't be running again if I did not believe, with all my heart and soul, I can do this job," he told the rally.

Mr Biden attacked the former president's criminal record, calling Trump a "one-man crimewave".

"My guess is he set a new record for the most lies told in a single debate," he added, telling the crowd he spent "90 minutes on the stage debating a guy with the morals of an alley cat".

Hours later, Donald Trump was jubilant at a rally in Chesapeake, Virginia.

"Never mind that crooked Joe Biden spent a week at Camp David, resting, working, studying - he studied so hard he didn't know what the hell he was doing," Mr Trump told the crowd.

"Biden's problem is not his age, [...] he's got no problem other than his competence. He's grossly incompetent," he added.

Bad debate nights happen

Barack Obama tweeted his support for President Biden on Friday evening, saying: "Bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know."

Joe Biden had a cold and sore throat during last night's debate, the White House said.

But others remained unconvinced he should run for president.

"I do not think President Joe Biden can be the Democratic Party's standard-bearer in 2024," former White House director of global engagement Brett Bruen told Sky News' Yalda Hakim.

"Last night's performance was astonishingly bad. You cannot just be strong on the teleprompter," he said.

But Anthony Scaramucci, former White House communications director, blamed the president's poor performance on his preparation.

"He wasn't prepped right for that debate. He's an older man," Mr Scaramucci told Yalda Hakim.

"You don't fill his head with facts and figures he's never going to remember."

There have been repeated calls for President Biden to step down.

It's "time to talk about an open convention and a new Democratic nominee," one Democratic politician told Sky's US partner network NBC News.

Read more from Sky News:
Joe Biden: Could the Democrats replace him?

Biden performance among worst in presidential history

However, while Vice President Kamala Harris acknowledged that President Joe Biden had a "slow start" in the debate, she insisted that he finished "strong".

President Biden's campaign spokesperson said there are no conversations taking place about the president stepping aside from his re-election bid.

He also still plans to take part in the next debate against Donald Trump, which is slated for 10 September, said the spokesperson. They added that last night's debate has not changed the campaign strategy.

At a Waffle House restaurant in Atlanta after the debate, Biden told reporters he did not have concerns about his performance. "It's hard to debate a liar," he said.