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'That Was Painful.' How Elon Musk, Jon Stewart, Gavin Newsom and Others Are Reacting to the Trump-Biden Debate What voices in the entrepreneurial ecosphere are saying about what has widely been described as the worst debate performance in recent history.

By Dan Bova Edited by Melissa Malamut

The first debate of the 2024 presidential election is over and it brought a lot more — and a lot less — than many expected.

President Biden, battling a hoarse voice and often struggling to give coherent answers, gave what has been called a "disastrous" performance that shocked some members of the Democratic party who publicly and privately called for him to be replaced on the ticket. Former president Donald Trump gave a confident performance that left his team "giddy," according to Politico, but received criticism for evading questions and making numerous false statements.

The debate received swift reaction from political and business leaders across the globe. Here's what voices in the entrepreneurial ecosphere are saying.

Andrew Yang
What's Joe Biden's superpower? That he's a good guy who will do the right thing for the country. In this case, that's stepping aside and letting the DNC choose another nominee."

The editors of The Economist
"Often it is difficult to call the winner of a debate, and partisans always claim that their candidate was the victor regardless of the evidence. But last night's contest was a complete disaster for Mr Biden. He stumbled over answers, stammered indecipherably at times and did not land prepared attack lines. Mr. Trump was his usual self—meandering, mendacious, vindictive—but that did not stop him from coming out on top."

Elon Musk
"Tonight was a clear victory … for memes"

Chris Wallace
"[Biden] was incapable tonight, on the biggest of stages that he sought, he in effect dictated. And with all of that preparation, he was incapable of doing better than he was. And you can't come back from that."

Jon Stewart
"Help us Obi wan..."

Van Jones
"That was painful," he began in an emotional comment on CNN. "I just want to speak from my heart…I love that guy. That's a good man. He loves his country. He's doing the best that he can. But he had a test to meet tonight, to restore the confidence of the country and the base and he failed to do that."

Meghan McCain
"Biden's staff has a lot of god damn explaining to do about all their 'private meetings' and how incredible Biden is behind closed doors…."

Gavin Newsom
"I would never turn my back on President Biden. Never turn my back on President Biden. I don't know a Democrat in my party that would do so. And especially after tonight, we have his back."

Stephen A. Smith
So do y'all finally want to stop arguing with me about Biden now??? Have your fears now been confirmed? @MichelleObama. @VP. Somebody. Please help! Biden's team WANTED this? His staff, His loved ones…. How could you put him out there like that! How could you!"

Scott Galloway

Dave Portnoy
"That's it folks. Cancel the election. Let's settle this on the golf course. Winner takes all. The only way to do it."

Dan Bova

Entrepreneur Staff

VP of Special Projects

Dan Bova is the VP of Special Projects at He previously worked at Jimmy Kimmel Live, Maxim, and Spy magazine. His latest books for kids include This Day in History, Car and Driver's Trivia ZoneRoad & Track Crew's Big & Fast Cars, The Big Little Book of Awesome Stuff, and Wendell the Werewolf

Read his humor column This Should Be Fun if you want to feel better about yourself.

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