Trump–Biden Debate Conspiracies Have Already Flooded the Internet

The Republican online ecosystem has gone into overdrive ahead of the first US presidential debate. Lawmakers and influencers are pushing wild conspiracy theories about President Joe Biden, and instead of coming up with anything new, they are recycling tired old allegations that have already been debunked—including claims that Biden will be “jacked up” on performance-enhancing drugs.

“He’s sleeping now, because they want to get him good and strong,” former president Donald Trump said of Biden at a campaign rally over the weekend, without providing any evidence. “So a little before debate time, he gets a shot in the ass. They want to strengthen him up. I’d say he’ll come out all jacked up.”

This is an almost exact repeat of a claim Trump made at a rally in 2020, when he claimed Biden would get “a big fat shot in the ass” in order to debate “better than ever before.” Trump also made a similar claim against Hillary Clinton in 2016. Trump has also called for Biden to take a drug test before the event, which he also did in 2020.

Trump’s comments appear to be part of a wider push by the Trump campaign to control the online narrative around the debate.

Trump’s former White House physician, Ronny Jackson, posted on X: “DRUG TEST BIDEN BEFORE THE DEBATE! Will we see Sleepy Joe, who lives in the White House Basement, or will we see Jacked-Up Joe who made an appearance at the State Of The Union???”

Jackson also spoke to Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo, who helped boost the baseless conspiracy. During the interview, Jackson went even further, speculating on why Biden and his team were hunkered down in Camp David ahead of the debate:

“Biden will have been at Camp David for a full week before the debate, and … they’re probably experimenting with getting doses right, getting him medicine before the debate,” said Jackson, who is currently running for Congress in Texas with Trump’s endorsement.

Other politicians also weighed in.

“I think Trump’s team should not underestimate Joe Biden and his team’s ability to jack him up on Mountain Dew or whatever it is,” Missouri representative Eric Burlison said in an interview on Fox Business, adding: “Look, the State of the Union this year, he had a lot of energy for about an hour or an hour and a half.”

The network of pro-Trump, right-wing influencers on X and Telegram have picked up the conspiracy en masse, sharing clips of Trump’s comments and the interviews with Jackson and Burlison.

In conspiracy channels on Telegram, influential figures are boosting even wilder allegations about the debate, including multiple different claims that Biden is about to pull out of the debate for medical reasons, and that either a new Democratic nominee will be picked or the 25th Amendment will be invoked and Vice President Kamala Harris will become president. There is no evidence to back up any of these claims.

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