The first of three presidential debates between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on Tuesday night was regularly marked by interruptions, interjections, and arguments, leading to vocal reaction from journalists, politicians, and regular people alike.
As the chaotic debate wore on, Hillary Clinton, who faced off against Trump in 2016, tweeted her feelings succinctly on the issue.
You have no idea.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 30, 2020
Immediately following the debate, the hostility and rancor led CNN’s Dana Bash to use a profanity while discussing what she had just witnessed.
“You used high-minded language,” Bash said to her colleague Jake Tapper. “That was a [expletive] show.”
"That was a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck," @jaketapper says. "That was the worst debate I have ever seen. It wasn't even a debate. It was a disgrace."— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) September 30, 2020
"That was a shit show," @DanaBashCNN adds. pic.twitter.com/EhTIeM7Skc
CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, who is not known for being opinionated, wondered aloud whether tonight’s debate would be the last, and called it “an embarrassment for the United States.”
CNN host Van Jones said the one moment that mattered was Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists.
“Number one, Donald Trump refused to condemn white supremacy. Number two: The president of the United States refused to condemn white supremacy. Number three, the commander-in-chief refused to condemn white supremacy on the global stage, in front of my children, in front of everybody’s family and he was given the opportunity multiple times to condemn white supremacy, and he gave a wink and a nod to a racist, Nazi, murderous organization that is now celebrating online,” Jones said.
During the debate, US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez noted that certain phrasing in the debate should have been revisited.
Can we please stop calling it “the issue of race” when what we’re really discussing is “the issue of racism”— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 30, 2020
One New York Times writer pointed out a particularly observant comment from a colleague.
just screamed laughing at this gem of live commentary from @AsteadWesley. thank you for the much needed break pic.twitter.com/klpMoD0i8O— Lena Wilson (@lenalwilson) September 30, 2020
James Pindell, a political reporter at the Globe, summed up his feelings on the event in just nine words.
This is the worst presidential debate in American history.— James Pindell (@JamesPindell) September 30, 2020
Here’s a look at how others were reacting to the debate:
I've obtained the complete transcript for the first debate. pic.twitter.com/luyjrs7udN— Philip Bump (@pbump) September 30, 2020
Did Trump just refer to Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas during a presidential debate? #Debates2020— CJ Johnson (@cjjohnsonjr) September 30, 2020
This is incredibly painful to watch.— Pilar Melendez (@pbmelendez) September 30, 2020
I have never wanted to see Elizabeth Warren on a debate stage more— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) September 30, 2020
Trump says we have immaculate air and water but he's rolled back 68 environmental regulations. #Debates2020— Robert Reich (@RBReich) September 30, 2020
I wouldn’t have been mad if Biden would’ve jumped across that stage for talking about his son! #Debates2020— Kalen Allen (@TheKalenAllen) September 30, 2020
They should seriously turn off trumps mic when it’s not his turn to speak, we can’t get anything from these debates #Debates2020— Hayley Kiyoko (@HayleyKiyoko) September 30, 2020
Rule for next #PresidentialDebate2020: Whenever a candidate hits 50% of the air time of the debate, he is escorted from the stage. cc: @debates— Sonia Chang-Díaz (@SoniaChangDiaz) September 30, 2020
Are you praying for the moderator? st— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) September 30, 2020
this debate pic.twitter.com/jjYUNagilZ— Hannah Jewell (@hcjewell) September 30, 2020
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @JaclynReiss