Trump earns support from independent voters during spar with Biden over immigration

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Trump earns support from independent voters during spar with Biden over immigration

Former President Trump appeared to earn significant approval from Republican and independent voters who were part of a Fox News Digital focus group during his response to President Biden’s claims about immigration during the CNN Presidential Debate on Thursday night.

When CNN moderator Jake Tapper asked Biden to inform voters how he can curb the record-high numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the border, the two presidential contenders sparred over their immigration policies, which ended in Biden calling Trump a “liar” and Trump appearing to not understand a portion of Biden’s responses.

After touting Congress’ bipartisan border package that lawmakers bucked earlier this year, Biden said “we find ourselves in a situation where when [Trump] was president, he was separating babies from their mothers, put them in cages, making sure that the families were separated.”

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Former President Trump appeared to earn significant approval from Republican and independent voters during his response to President Biden’s claims about immigration. (Fox News Digital)

“That’s not the right way to go. What I’ve done since I’ve changed the law, what’s happened? I’ve changed it in a way that now you’re in a situation where there are 40% fewer people coming across the border illegally. That’s better than when he left office. And I’m going to continue to move until we get the total ban on the total initiative relative to what we can do with more Border Patrol and more asylum officers,” Biden said.

During Biden’s remarks, Republican and independent voters who took part in the Fox News Digital focus group gave the president low approval. When Trump responded, however, the approval from the same voters shot up, indicating support for the former president’s positions on the subject. 

Republican approval lines are color-coded red, while independents’ are color-coded yellow and Democrats’ blue.

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Donald Trump at CNN presidential debate

Former President Trump speaks during a presidential debate in Atlanta on Thursday. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)

Trump, appearing to not understand Biden, responded: “I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence, I don’t think he knows what he said, either.”

“Look, we had the safest border in the history of our country,” Trump added. “All he had to do was leave it, all he had to do was to leave it. He decided to open up our border, open up our country, to people that are from prisons, people that are from mental institutions, insane asylum, terrorists — we have the largest number of terrorists coming into our country right now.”

Joe Biden at CNN debate

President Biden stands at his podium during the first presidential debate of the 2024 election cycle in Atlanta on Thursday. (Kevin D. Liles for The Washington Post)

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Approval from Democratic voters who took part in the real-time reaction gave Biden high marks for his remarks on immigration. During Trump’s rebuttal, Democratic approval dropped significantly.

Fox News’ Jamie Joseph contributed to this report.



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