Biden-Trump debate: Crypto goes completely unmentioned


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United States President Joe Biden and presidential bidder Donald Trump didn’t mention crypto once in their 90-minute debate on Thursday despite crypto lobbyists raising millions of dollars this election cycle.

The first of two CNN-hosted debates on June 27 focused on each presidential hopeful’s plans for the economy, abortion rights, immigration and foreign policy. It also briefly touched on their mental capabilities as Biden, 81 and Trump, 78, are the oldest candidates to ever run for president.

Crypto’s non-mention comes despite a trio of crypto-backed super political action committees (PAC) raising $202.8 million from large industry backers, spending $93.6 million to influence the 2024 elections.

Trump (left) and Biden (right) at the first 2024 presidential debate in Atlanta. Source: CNN

Political spending in the millions

Fairshake PAC has raised $177.8 million and spent $70.8 million of it in the 2024 election cycle, according to OpenSecrets — which mostly went to bankrolling attack ads for Congressional candidates.

Two other related super PACs, Protect Progress and Defend American Jobs, have together spent $22.8 million in this year’s elections after raising $25 million.

The three super PACs together have raised the third-most amount of money of any PAC and can receive donations of unlimited size but can’t coordinate with campaigns directly.

Trump has vowed to end what he called Biden’s “war on crypto” if elected and hosted a meeting with Bitcoin (BTC) miners earlier this month, telling them he wanted the cryptocurrency to be “made in America.”

But some in the industry, such as Kraken CEO Dave Ripley, said Biden is “softening up” to crypto. Others, including crypto advocate Mark Cuban, say the head of the nation’s securities regulator will “literally cost Joe Biden the election” for its wave of crypto-related enforcement actions.

Gallup polls from last month show crypto isn’t top of mind for American voters, with most ranking the economy, inflation, poor governance and immigration as the key issues facing the country.

Related: Voters weigh in on US presidential debate — Will Trump or Biden mention crypto?

The outwardly pro-crypto independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr didn’t meet CNN’s requirements to appear in the debate. He claimed the network “rigged the rules” and hosted an alternative “real debate” on X at the same time.

During the “debate” — which saw Kennedy alone on stage being asked questions — the presidential hopeful said he would use “AI and blockchain to eliminate waste in government to save more money,” repeating his claim from April.

Trump leads Biden by only 0.2 percentage points in national polling — 41.1% to the incumbent president’s 40.9% — while Kennedy is polling at 9% according to a June 27 FiveThirtyEight poll taken before the debate.

National polling averages for the U.S. presidential election. Source: FiveThirtyEight

The second debate between Biden and Trump is set for Sept. 10.

The elections for president, vice president, all 435 House seats and 34 of the 100 Senate seats are slated for Nov. 5.

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