The first — and possibly last? — presidential debate during the 2020 election got off to a relatively quiet start. Moderator, Fox News’ Chris Wallace, laid the ground rules, that incumbent Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden would each get two minutes apiece to talk, uninterrupted. That lasted for about one exchange. Then Trump lost whatever cool he had and would barely let Biden get more than five words without some interjection or insult, trying — and often succeeding — in throwing his opponent off his game. Sometimes Biden even snapped.
In the first half hour, Biden lost it, greeting one interruption with the instantly iconic words, “Will you shut up, man?” But like Trump, he stepped up his game. At some point during the second half-hour — it’s hard to tell when, time seemed to evaporate while watching it — Trump went after Hunter, Biden’s son, whom he’s accused, without much proof, of shady dealings. Biden tried to defend his son, but was pelted with more Trump blabber. And so he moved on from calling him “man,” and moved onto calling him “clown.”
As Trump goes after Hunter Biden, Joe Biden responds: “it’s hard to get any word in with this clown.”
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) September 30, 2020
— ABC News (@ABC) September 30, 2020
“It’s hard to get any word in with this clown,” Biden told Wallace, the auditorium’s socially distancing crowd, and the entire world. To his credit, he backed off, recusing himself by calling him a “person,” instead.
The world responded in kind. Some praised Biden for losing his cool in such a Biden-y way.
Move over “will you shut up man”
WE HAVE A NEW WINNER:
“IT IS HARD TO GET ANY WORD IN WITH THIS CLOWN”
~ Joe Fucking Biden pic.twitter.com/uvBSqc3jQz
— ALT-immigration 🛂 (@ALT_uscis) September 30, 2020
BIDEN: “THERE’S NO WAY TO GET A WORD IN WITH THIS CLOWN” pic.twitter.com/62rAFrEN9X
— AD ‘20 Finals MVP 🏆 (@OVOLakeShow) September 30, 2020
Joe Biden: "It's to talk when this clown interrupts." pic.twitter.com/ffTdTLrT5t
— Mika (@midnightshade66) September 30, 2020
People wondered if history was being made. (Probably.)
History: the first time a sitting president has been called a clown 🤡 during a debate.
— Khaled Beydoun (@KhaledBeydoun) September 30, 2020
There were clown memes.
— Salina ⚖️ 💛🐝 (@Salina_Duncan_P) September 30, 2020
— Tee (@STARR1LIBRA) September 30, 2020
And Nicolas Cage memes.
It’s the “clown” references for me… pic.twitter.com/yUivnxdJaN
— Thomas Q. Jones (@thomasqjones) September 30, 2020
And, inevitably, Joker memes.
i think this debate is my joker origin story
— kait (@kaitlynapage) September 30, 2020
“It’s hard to get anywhere with this clown” was my favorite line from joker
— Justin “Hoops” McElroy (@JustinMcElroy) September 30, 2020
Actually, it was the second time Biden had called him a clown within the first hour. There’s just that much going on!
This is the second time Biden has referred to Trump as a "clown." pic.twitter.com/SkAopLJOPx
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) September 30, 2020
Anyway, as of this moment there was still 40 minutes left. Hang tight.