Al’s Afternoon Tea: Presidential Debate Rules Set, While Trump is Winning the Merchandise Race Among Teens

By Al Perrotta Published on June 17, 2024

Welcome back in for Al’s Afternoon Tea, where we sample some of the latest news and headlines. 

10 Days to Debate. Rules Now Set.

We are now just ten days away from the first presidential debate, and the rules for it, which will be hosted by CNN, have been finalized. Rule #1: All questions to Donald Trump must be about January 6 or his felony conviction. Rule #2: All questions to Joe Biden must use simple words and be spoken really slowly. 

Okay, so maybe those aren’t the real rules. The real rules include muting mics when it’s not the candidate’s turn to speak, no props will be allowed, and the two candidates will be standing at podiums. 

One interesting tidbit: Neither candidate will be allowed to use prewritten notes. This will hit Biden hard, because he has proven incapable of answering even softball questions or saying hello to foreign dignitaries without cue cards. Just the other day he barked at reporters because they didn’t “play by the rules” and asked questions on subjects he wasn’t prepared to talk about.

Will Biden be checked for wires? Will he be given the questions in advance, as CNN did with Hillary Clinton in 2016? This is why Trump must, with his answers, turn them back into questions for Biden.

How low are the expectations for Biden? According to a survey by JL Partners, half of Americans think he will forget where he is during the debate. More than a third believe he will wander off stage. (And this poll was conducted before Biden did his vanishing act at the G7 last week.)  

So if he is just able to stay put and remember where he is, this will be deemed a surprise victory.

One thing I’m not seeing in the rules: How long is Biden allowed to freeze before a moderator flags him for “delay of debate” or a stagehand has to walk him off, the way Barack Obama did Saturday night at their glitzy Hollywood fundraiser?

You be the judge: Frozen again, or just soaking in the crowd?

Right now, it’s looking as if Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is falling short of the qualifications needed to be on the debate stage.

BREAKING: Washington Reporter, cites two sources, including one at CNN, reported this afternoon the Biden camp is trying to change the debate rules to have the candidates sit, rather than stand at a podium.

If true, would Joe Biden bail on the debate if Trump does not agree? If you’re Trump, do you respond with, “Sure, we can do it seated … if you take a drug test”? 

However, a CNN spokesperson tells NewsNation the report is not true.

Generational Change: Teens Buying Trump Stuff

Here’s an odd little story out of D.C. One way to gauge the political winds is by what tourists buy when they come to Washington. During the spring and early summer, busload upon busload of teens arrive on tours of the nation’s capital. According to vendor Kalid Ismail of “I Love DC Gifts,” teens this year are going wild for Trump swag. In fact, next to a Cherry Blossom Festival-related “Good Vibes” sweatshirt, he says Trump gear is his #2 best seller.

“We have no horse in the race, politically. Like, we don’t care, but man — people love him,” Ismail told The Washington Post. “Anything Trump-themed, anything with his name on it … people are buying it.”

Particular favorites include Trump mug-shot T-shirts and visors with fake orange hair gushing from the top.

Incidentally, Biden socks also are a fairly popular item.

Death Toll from Open Border Rises as Biden Prepares to Unilaterally Grant Amnesty to Hundreds of Thousands

When will a local district attorney have the guts to charge the Biden administration with aiding and abetting murder? In February 2023, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador named Victor Antonio-Martinez-Hernandez came across our southern border. He had fled El Salvador after murdering a young woman. He was stopped by Border Patrol agents, but released as per Biden’s policy. Hernandez then made his way to Los Angeles where, according to police, he soon brutalized a nine-year-old girl and her mother in a home invasion.

He then made his way east. On Saturday, police announced Hernandez has been arrested in Tulsa for the rape and murder last August of a mother of five, Rachel Morin, in Maryland.

Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler minced no words in pointing the finger at the White House for letting Hernandez roam free in our country. This is the second time in two years that a Harford woman has been murdered by an illegal immigrant.

“We are 1800 miles away here [from the border] in Harford County,” he said. “We are 1800 miles away from the southern border, and the American citizens are not safe because of failed immigration policies.” 

This is a perfect, albeit far more extreme, example of what we mentioned this morning on The Brew. If Biden has no problem letting his dogs repeatedly attack the Secret Service agents assigned to protect him and his family, what animals will he allow to devour the rest of us?

At the same time news of Hernandez’s arrest was breaking, word came that Biden is planning to magically grant legal status to illegal immigrants who have been here for more than 10 years and who are now married to U.S. citizens. This would amount to amnesty for hundreds of thousands of people. According to CBS News, the program is called “Parole in Place.” It could be announced as soon as tomorrow.

Hillary Clinton Showed Up at the Tony Awards

Hillary Clinton made a surprise appearance at the Tony Awards Sunday night, where she was greeted with a standing ovation. As the New York Post noted, Clinton made a joke about losing the 2016 election, which bombed about as badly as her musical Suffs.  

Clinton blamed her show’s loss for Best Musical on Russia. (Or was it a lack of support from female theatre goers? Or was it sexism? She couldn’t make up her mind.)

On The Stream Menu

John Zmirak takes a delightful look back at his childhood with “Some Catholic Schools are Just Safe Rooms for Kids Whose Parents Are Afraid of Violent Crime.” 

It’s a good day when The Stream‘s social media coordinator Gayle McQueary throws down. Check out her new piece, titled “What Kind of Person Does That?”


Al Perrotta is The Stream’s Washington bureau chief, coauthor with John Zmirak of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration, and coauthor of the counterterrorism memoir Hostile Intent: Protecting Yourself Against Terrorism.

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