Well, the first presidential debate of the 2016 cycle occurred earlier this week. In case you missed it, here’s a recap, as told by Twitter. (Who needs thoughtful political analysis when we have the internet to help us interpret the debate?)
Part 1: Pre-Debate Mind Games
I mean, like… you said it, not me.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2016
*Brushes invisible piece of lint off her shoulder*
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 27, 2016
Part 2: LLLLLLET’S GET READY TO RUMBLEEEEEE!!!!
Lester Holt: Good evening from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, I’m Lester Holt, anchor of NBC Nightly News. Welcome to the first presidential debate. Now, I invite you to applaud as we welcome the candidates, Democratic nominee for president of the United States, Hillary Clinton, and Republican nominee for president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.
Quick reader poll: This the understatement of the ______.
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) September 27, 2016
HILLARY ENTRANCE pic.twitter.com/jRB8dqm4Et
— Chelsea Peretti (@chelseaperetti) September 27, 2016
I already have my head in my hands and I don’t know why.
— Alex Wagner (@alexwagner) September 27, 2016
Some people thought Clinton started off slowly. Some people thought Trump came out guns blazing (also reasonable). And then there was CNN commentator Paul Begala:
Many people think Trump looks tight, nervous. Interrupting Hillary. Drinking lots of water. Choke!
— Paul Begala (@PaulBegala) September 27, 2016
Part 3: Fact Check
“We have taken the homepage of my website, HillaryClinton.com and we’ve turned it into a fact checker.” – Hillary Clinton
Naturally, at this point, Twitter took it upon themselves to fact check in real time as well. They were very helpful…
“Our jobs are fleeing the country. They are going to Mexico, they are going to many other countries.” – Donald Trump
Fact check: Jobs do not have legs and thus cannot flee anything
— Chris Wilson (@chriswilsondc) September 27, 2016
“You’re telling the enemy everything you want to do. No wonder you’ve been fighting ISIS your entire adult life.” -DT
Fact check: Hillary Clinton has not been fighting ISIS her entire adult life.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) September 27, 2016
Fact check: understatement. https://t.co/ljaEvHpvdf
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) September 27, 2016
“WE NEED LAW & ORDER.” Fact check: 20 seasons was enough.
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) September 27, 2016
Comedian Hari Kondabolu summed it up pretty well in a single tweet:
Donald Trump makes claims like Google doesn’t exist. #DebateNight
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) September 27, 2016
Part 4: The Moderator Has Left the Building
At some point, it occurred to people that Lester hadn’t said anything for awhile…
I think Lester bailed.#debatenight
— Joe List (@JoeListComedy) September 27, 2016
Is there a moderator
— Alexandra Petri (@petridishes) September 27, 2016
I keep forgetting that Lester Holt is here.
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) September 27, 2016
To be fair, if I were him, I would’ve peaced out right after asking the first question.
Part 5: The Twitterverse Grows Distracted
hillary: looks into the camera like she’s on the office pic.twitter.com/voySp73zxQ
— dani❁ (@danibucaro) September 27, 2016
— Rob Crean (@RobCrean) September 27, 2016
Trumps sniffling: Disgusting. Like a dog. Seriously disgusting
— Tim Miller (@Timodc) September 27, 2016
— Adam Smith (@AdamSmith_usa) September 27, 2016
— chris eannucci (@ChrisEannucci) September 27, 2016
Part 6: Closing Thoughts
As the theatrics died down, Twitter weighed in with a few parting thoughts.
For those of you who thought Trump wasn’t speaking English, Her Campus agreed:
— Her Campus (@HerCampus) September 27, 2016
General consensus was that Trump lost… badly:
“Donald, we’ve set the lowest debate expectations for you of all time. Just don’t fail spectacularly.””Got it.” pic.twitter.com/dM0zTnLEv8
— Chris Schleicher (@cschleichsrun) September 27, 2016
People were exasperated:
This has been ridiculous.It’s sad that this is the state of our country. Politics in America today everyone. Are you satisfied?#debatenight
— Alex Law (@AlexLawNJ) September 27, 2016
Gonna read a serial killer novel to recover.
— Lizzie O’Leary (@lizzieohreally) September 27, 2016
And as for Lester Holt? Well…
— Shon (@inkedtater) September 27, 2016
I feel you, Lester. I feel you. (Less than a week until the Vice Presidential Debate… I honestly don’t know if America can make it to Election Day sober.)