CNN calls it a “shitshow,” among other non-flattering names. Here’s how the internet reacted to a volatile presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden went after each other the minute 2020’s chaotic first presidential debate started at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Tuesday night. Moderator Chris Wallace, anchor of Fox News Sunday, struggled to keep order as the candidates fought for 90 minutes straight over their records, the timing of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, race and violence in cities and the integrity of the election.
The rancor reached such heights that on Wednesday, the commission that oversees general-election debates between presidential and vice presidential candidates said it will change the format of the remaining two presidential debates.
It didn’t take long for the candidates to begin interrupting and talking over each other, with viewers quickly comparing the event to the infamous fights and finger-pointing that take place on the Real Housewives reality TV franchise, especially during reunion shows.
“This is ridiculous,” wrote one Twitter user. “These two are worse than a Real Housewives fight.’
This is ridiculous. These two are worse than a Real Housewives fight. #Debates2020
— Shannon Carter (@imShannonCarter) September 30, 2020
— iAMaDesigner (@sutherngeorgian) September 30, 2020
— Pizza Steve (@SteveBilicki) September 30, 2020
— Whitney Behm (@WhitneyRecruits) September 30, 2020
Others tried to think of other things that could be considered worse than the chaos playing out in real time. “I have been in a car crash, this is worse,” wrote one Twitter user.
— the 3rd pWAPerty brother (@MidwesternJack) September 30, 2020
— BrownsTherapy (@BrownsTherapy) September 30, 2020
i’ve been the only woman in many meetings, none of this is fazing me
— jenn (@jennschiffer) September 30, 2020
really enjoying this debate tbh pic.twitter.com/K1BxFV3zpq
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) September 30, 2020
Biggest mask ever
Of course, the coronavirus outbreak came in for heated debate, with Biden accusing the president of not doing enough to protect the country, and the president at one point saying Biden “shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.” The mask comment especially drew the attention of social media commenters.
“Where can I order the biggest mask you’ve ever seen?” asked one Twitter user.
Where can I order the biggest mask you’ve ever seen? #Debates2020
— Bridget Howe (@howe_b) September 30, 2020
— Nick Nicosia (@NickJNicosia) September 30, 2020
“[Biden] has the biggest *mask* I’ve ever seen.” -Trump, admitting he has a tiny mask #Debates2020
— Steph (@sjwarbird) September 30, 2020
In one of many turbulent moments, Biden turned to the president and asked, “Will you shut up, man?” And that phrase took off on social media.
— Jon Nicosia (@NewsPolitics) September 30, 2020
Where can I get a bumper sticker that says “Will you shut up, man?”
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) September 30, 2020
— Derek Whitacre (@derekwhitacre) September 30, 2020
— Renee (@PettyLupone) September 30, 2020
Even the president’s former opponent, Hillary Clinton weighed in.
I so feel for Hillary right now because I’m positive she wanted to say that and couldn’t.
— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) September 30, 2020
You have no idea.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 30, 2020
Where’s Zoom when you need it?
Many viewers compared the night with an out-of-control Zoom meeting desperately in need of a mute button.
“10 bucks that Chris Wallace requests the next debate to be over Zoom so he can hit the mute button,” wrote one Twitter user.
Chris Wallace literally sounds like my 7 year old’s teacher trying to get their Zoom under control. #PresidentialDebate2020
— Trae Crowder (@traecrowder) September 30, 2020
10 bucks that Chris Wallace requests the next debate to be over Zoom so he can hit the mute button.
— c'est la V (@vianeyevelinn) September 30, 2020
I am a teacher who works on Zoom EVERY single day. I have the ability to mute microphones, shut off camera, send someone to a waiting room, or kick them out for inappropriate behavior.
Chris Wallace should have the same abilities.
— Bailey Brown (@baileystaysposi) September 30, 2020
— Brian Fanzo iSocialFanz (@iSocialFanz) September 30, 2020
An instant poll by CNET sister site CBS News showed the vast majority of viewers, 83%, found the tone of the debate to be negative, with the most common reaction being annoyance, according to the survey. It’s fair to say the reaction to the unprecedented evening from some media commentators was equally unprecedented.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper did not hold back. “That was a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck. That was the worst debate I have ever seen,” he said on the network following the debate. “In fact, it wasn’t even a debate. It was a disgrace.”
Added CNN’s Dana Bash, “I’m just going to say it like it is. That was a shitshow.”
the man speaks truth pic.twitter.com/vwSY7NF5il
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) September 30, 2020
THE WOMAN ALSO SPEAKS TRUTH pic.twitter.com/5mhgkdEKse
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) September 30, 2020
Jake Tapper says what we are all thinking: "That was a hot mess. Inside a dumpster fire. Inside a train wreck. That was the worst debate I have ever seen."
Danan Bash adds that it was a "shitshow." pic.twitter.com/EiX8h6zEWQ
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) September 30, 2020
“A hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck.” — @jaketapper
“A shitshow.” — @DanaBashCNN
“Shameless. Obesely immoral.” —@andersoncooper
— Jessica Bennett (@jessicabennett) September 30, 2020
We expected a shitshow. We got a shitshow. Nonetheless, I don’t think any of us expected the pile of shit to be 5 miles tall.
— TG221 (@TG22110) September 30, 2020
Tuesday’s debate is the first of three, with the next event on Oct. 15 in Miami, and the third and final presidential debate on Oct. 22 in Nashville. A vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris is scheduled for Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City.
“Can’t believe there’s two more of these,” wrote comedian and political commentator Bill Maher. “It’s like making a sequel to Cats.”
Can’t believe there’s 2 more of these. It’s like making a sequel to Cats.
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) September 30, 2020