With less than two weeks to go for the US election, President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden squared off in the second and final presidential debate on Friday.
Experts and social media users alike agreed that the relatively disciplined event in Nashville was a far cry from the raucous and chaotic first debate, which was marked by constant interruptions and mud slinging by the two candidates.
But the debate, moderated by NBC News’ Kristen Welker, still had a fair share of tense moments and heated exchanges between Trump and Biden, as they made a last-ditch attempt to sway American voters ahead of polling day on November 3.
As the debate wore on, reactions from leading lawmakers and election experts began pouring in on social media.
Here are some top reactions:
Former Vice-President Joe Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris lauded the Democrat for not just winning the debate but also taking a stand against Trump and “the harm his administration has caused” over the last four years.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) October 23, 2020
Meanwhile, Vice-President Mike Pence congratulated President Trump for his performance, and claimed that he had won the debate “hands down”.
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) October 23, 2020
Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacked President Trump for claiming that she “knew nothing about the climate” at the final presidential debate.
Lashing out at Biden’s climate change plan during the second half of the debate, Trump said, “You know who developed it? AOC plus three. They know nothing about the climate. I mean she’s got a good line of stuff but she knows nothing about the climate, and they’re all hopping through hoops for AOC plus three. Not a real plan, it costs 100 trillion dollars.”
Ocasio-Cortez immediately took to Twitter to correct the US President and said, “It’s actually AOC plus 115 because that’s how many House and Senate members have co-sponsored the most ambitious climate legislation in American history.”
It’s actually AOC plus 115 because that’s how many House and Senate members have cosponsored the most ambitious climate legislation in American history.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 23, 2020
If someone told me 3 years ago, while I was waitressing to help my family stay afloat, that in a few short years an unhinged President of the United States would be repeatedly saying my name at the 2020 debate, I would’ve brought them some water and told them to sober up.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 23, 2020
— VoteTripling.org (@votetripling) October 23, 2020
Former senior counsellor to Trump Kellyanne Conway praised the President for being “hopeful” and “optimistic” and making Biden “explain and eat his record”.
Made Biden explain – and eat! – his record.
"You had 8 years and didn't do it"
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) October 23, 2020
Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul called out Biden for allegedly denying that he plans to ban the practice of fracking. Following the debate, the Trump campaign, too, released footage of both Biden and Harris repeatedly supporting bans on fracking.
“What I will do with fracking over time is make sure that we can capture the emissions from the fracking, capture the emissions from gas. We can do that, and we can do that by investing money. But it’s a transition to that,” Biden said during the debate.
I don’t know why @JoeBiden thinks he can continue to lie about this.
He wants to ban fracking and end all fossil fuels like coal too.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) October 23, 2020
Meanwhile, former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg slammed Trump for his comments about racism in the United States.
“Nobody has done more for the Black community than Donald Trump. And if you look, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln…I’m the least racist person in this room,” Trump had said when asked about Black families having to talk with their children about interacting with police.
Responding to Trump’s comments, Buttigieg tweeted, “The Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964 by President (Lyndon B) Johnson. Show some goddamned respect.”
The Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964 by President Johnson. Show some goddamned respect.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) October 23, 2020
Former Presidential candidate Andrew Yang, too, criticised Trump for his performance at the debate on Friday.
“There were a few times Trump actually made me laugh tonight: comparing himself to Lincoln, blaming his accountant for not reporting his taxes and invoking the mythical GOP healthcare plan,” he wrote on Twitter.
There were a few times Trump actually made me laugh tonight: comparing himself to Lincoln, blaming his accountant for not reporting his taxes and invoking the mythical GOP healthcare plan. pic.twitter.com/VtznIeZzzI
— Andrew Yang🧢🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) October 23, 2020
Biden has been transparent about his stuttering. Being compassionate towards him starts a domino effect that will impact so many children, including mine, who are managing their stutter.
Our actions and reactions have consequences.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 23, 2020
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