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What is this issue all about?


Questions have been raised as to the competence of the candidates as it relates to age, health, experience, speech-communication and global credibility as it relates to the ability to govern.

Talking Points:

  • AGE:
    Age is not applicable because both presidential candidates are of similar age.
    Both presidential candidates have had doctors’ reports indicating that they are healthy. Joe Biden’s was conducted December 15, 2019. Donald Trump’s was conducted February 14, 2019. Find the link in the Facts section
    Joe Biden is a life-long Democrat. He practiced law in Wilmington, first as a public defender and then at his own firm, Biden and Walsh. He was first elected to office in 1969 representing the 4th District on the New Castle County Council.  Beginning in 1972, he subsequently served 6 Senate terms, he was a longtime member of the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary chairing it from 1987 to 1995 and of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations chairing it from 2001 to 2003. From 2008 to 2016 he served 2 terms as the Vice President of the United States. In 2017 he was named the Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice professor at the University of Pennsylvania where he focused on foreign policy, diplomacy and national security. He has a degree in History and Political Science and a Law Degree. He also has honorary degrees from 15 other universities and has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2017), the Chancellor Medal (1980) and the George Arents Pioneer Medal (2005) from Syracuse University. See biography. Find the link in the Facts section

Donald Trump’s background is as a businessman and reality TV actor. He has been a member of the Republican Party a number of times, a member of the Reform Party and a member of the Democratic Party.  He registered as a Republican in Manhattan in 1987 and since that time has changed his party affiliation five times. In 1999, Trump changed his party affiliation to the Independence Party of New York. In August 2001, Trump changed his party affiliation to Democratic. In September 2009, Trump changed his party affiliation back to the Republican Party. In December 2011, Trump changed to “no party affiliation” (independent). In April 2012, Trump again returned to the Republican Party. He has held 1 public office, President of the United States. He has a BA in Economics from the Wharton School. Just out of college, he inherited the family business in 1971. Donald Trump’s business has included several successful and unsuccessful ventures, include 6 casino and hotel bankruptcies, the folding of his New Jersey Generals football team, and the now-defunct Trump University and over 4000 lawsuits over 3 decades. See biography. Find the link in the Facts section

    Joe Biden’s speech pattern is a result of his lifelong challenge with stuttering. Among the things, researchers do know about stuttering is that it’s not caused by emotional or psychological problems. It’s not a sign of low intelligence. The average stutterer’s IQ is 14 points higher than the national average. And it’s not a nervous disorder or a condition caused by stress.  Biden has been criticized for his occasional ‘gaffes’ when he has misspoken on a detail of an issue. He has most generally corrected himself, owning his errors. Biden’s speaking style is comfortable and most find it accurate and relatable. See more on these issues.  Find the link in the Facts section

Donald Trump has an unusual speech pattern that has caused criticism and question of his cognitive level.  A 2018 analysis of his off-script speech pattern places him at the communication level of an 8 year old. This has raised questions of intellectual competence. 

Repetition of simple phrases and excessive use of superlatives (the ‘greatest’) mark his non-scripted speeches.  Linguists see these as more common in casual conversation but consider them an issue when used in presidential speeches.

There are 2 areas noted as concerns in Trumps communication style:

    1. Trump frequently fails to give direct, clear or accurate answers to question.  He is noted for misdirection in answering with non-related information, somewhat common in politicians. Not common is his frequency of attacking those asking questions he does not want to answer. He does this by shaming them for asking a ‘terrible’ question and by accusing the asker of being a representative of ‘fake news’ who is just there to make him look bad.
    2. Twitter is a prime mode of communication for Trump.  He uses it to declare new policy as well as to ridicule and insult those he does not like. It is effective as people do pay attention to it, but many find it unreliable as it often appears to have been written with little consideration of the message and impact. Find the link in the Facts section
    In a Gallup poll taken February 3 -17, 2020 which asked “Do you think leaders of other countries have respect for the United States President, or do you think they don’t have much respect for him.” , 61% of Americans said they “don’t have much respect”. Find the link in the Facts section

In a pew research poll America’s global image plummeted following the election of President Donald Trump, amid widespread opposition to his administration’s policies and a widely shared lack of confidence in his leadership. Find the link in the Facts section

Western Europeans have strikingly negative views of Trump. In the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain – four nations the Center has consistently surveyed over the past 15 years – there is a clear pattern in public perceptions of U.S. presidents. People in these countries generally had little confidence in President George W. Bush to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Their confidence was much higher in Bush’s successor, President Barack Obama, but it plunged following Trump’s election in 2016. Find the link in the Facts section

In 2019 Joe Biden attended the annual Munich  Security Conference where World leaders told him: We need you.  The former vice president would bring deep relationships and heavyweight credentials to national security. And in several conversations with European leaders in Munich, Biden heard a repeated refrain: “The world needs you.” Citing Biden’s long foreign policy track record and longtime commitment to the trans-Atlantic alliance, some of the leaders- echoing views from across the continent-told Biden that his return to the White House would be a sure way to restore western alliances that President Trump has dramatically fractured. Find the link in the Facts section

Joe Biden has an extensive foreign policy background. As a two-term vice president, he played a leading role in the administration’s policy on Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, and other conflict areas. As a U.S. senator from Delaware from 1973 to 2009, he served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for three decades. Find the link in the Facts section

Joe Biden has a great deal more national and international service, credibility, and leadership experience than Donald Trump.

Facts and Resources:





Global Credibility: