An 11 a.m. start time and an afternoon nap: Report reveals Biden's debate prep schedule

An 11 a.m. start time and an afternoon nap: Report reveals Biden's debate prep schedule
  • The schedule didn't start before 11 a.m. and included an afternoon lie-down, sources told the NYT.

  • Debate prep was cut short by 2 days, as the president was tired after a hectic travel week.

  • The White House insists that Biden is healthy, despite reports of more frequent mental lapses.

For President Biden, debate prep was not a strict 9-to-5 job. In the six days leading up to Thursday's damaging performance, Biden never began his preparations before 11 a.m. and always had time for an afternoon nap, sources told the New York Times.

The report is based on interviews with current and former aides, donors, political advisors, and administrators who spent time with the president over the past few weeks. Though the White House insists that Biden is in good physical and cognitive shape, many of the sources noted that he has seemed increasingly confused in recent months.

During the debate, Biden was incoherent at times, trailing off mid-sentence and haphazardly stringing together facts. Biden's team cut debate preparations by two days, citing the president's exhaustion after jam-packed trips to Europe. He spent those days resting at his home in Delaware.

Still, aides said that his preparations at Camp David were robust.

Of the reported late-morning start time, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates told The Times that "the president was working well before then, after exercising." Bates said that, as of Tuesday, the White House physician saw no reason to reevaluate Biden for Parkinson's disease.

The White House did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for further comment.

By comparison, a different New York Times article from 2012 detailed how Barack Obama prepared for his second debate after an abysmal initial showdown against Mitt Romney. According to the article, he followed a rigorous schedule and only left the camp once, briefly.

Sources close to Biden have largely seen him oscillate between mental agility and disorientation — in some moments he is sharp on questions of national security and in others mixes up basic facts, like the countries of France and Italy.

While in Europe, Biden visited Normandy for a D-Day event. There, members of his own generation were divided on his capacity to serve.

"He did not appear any different to me in person than he does on television — and that is as a person who is fragile and not really in charge," Bill Casassa, a 98-year-old honoree who supports Trump, told the Times.

Yet Marvin E. Gilmore Jr., who is just shy of his 100th birthday, attested to the opposite: "There was nothing I saw in him that said he was an old man."

Donald Trump has a lighter schedule than the president and does not exercise regularly, but does seemingly partake in the occasional nap himself, namely at his own criminal trial.

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