The Brief: On September 29, Joe Biden and Donald Trump participated in their first presidential debate together as viewers shared their thoughts and opinions on social media via Tweets and memes.
As former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump faced off for the first 2020 presidential debate, viewers shared memes and hot-takes online to add comic relief to a tense night of partisan politicking (and yelling).
Leading up to the debate, couch commentators shared their plans for debate-themed drinking games, some of which could land participants in the hospital…
debate drinking game!: continue to drink continuously as you have been doing for the past six months
— Alexandra Petri (@petridishes) September 29, 2020
Every debate drinking game I've seen online would land a normal person in the hospital with alcohol poisoning by about 945p
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) September 29, 2020
My debate drinking game consists of taking a shot every time Trump tells the truth because I really need to cut down on my drinking
— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) September 29, 2020
And in case anyone was worried that young people are too busy on TikTok to watch the debate, it looks like they can do both…
2020 Presidential Debate Drinking Game… (i stole this idea from @maya2960 btw)
For many, watching a debate in 2020 is a painful task…
me settling in for the debate tonight pic.twitter.com/AfsM1drZ9v
— priscilla page (@BBW_BFF) September 30, 2020
After conservative groups and the Trump campaign spread baseless rumors about Joe Biden refusing an “earpiece inspection,” Biden tweeted a joke referencing these false claims:
It’s debate night, so I’ve got my earpiece and performance enhancers ready. pic.twitter.com/EhOiWdjh1b
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 29, 2020
Presidential Debate Memes
As the two candidates talked over each other, particularly as Trump continuously heckled Biden, many people asked why moderators didn’t take a tip from Zoom and simply mute people when they’re not speaking.
THE HOST SHOULD BE ABLE TO MUTE MICROPHONES. I can’t believe I want this to be more like zoom. #Debates2020
— Ben Schwartz (@rejectedjokes) September 30, 2020
Comparisons were made between the chaos of the debate and that of elementary school Zoom classrooms.
My kid’s second grade zoom class runs smoother than this debate.
— gia onomatopoeia (@missgiagiagia) September 30, 2020
Another apt idea:
thinking about a version of this timeline where the moderator is allowed to spritz candidates in the face for talking over each other like i do with my cats when they're eating house plants
— morgoblin sung (@morgan_sung) September 30, 2020
At one point early on, Biden responded to Trump’s interruptions and rants with “will you shut up man” and “keep yappin’ man,” both of which struck a chord with many viewers.
“Will you shut up man?” – America
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) September 30, 2020
“Keep yappin’, man.” New bumper sticker.
— Connie Schultz (@ConnieSchultz) September 30, 2020
Joe Biden on Trump’s “it is what it is” comments about COVID-19 deaths:
— Sire (@SireLeoLamar) September 30, 2020
Yes, the former Vice President just called the current president a 🤡, causing “CLOWN” to trend on Twitter.
"It's hard to get any word in with this clown– Excuse me, this person." Nah Joe, make it plain!!!
— Ashley Nicole Black (@ashleyn1cole) September 30, 2020
Many people were waiting for the sweet, sweet relief of a commercial break…
Never wanted to see some commercials so bad in my life
— jar jar benis (@hippieswordfish) September 30, 2020
When asked directly if he was willing to condemn white supremacists, President Trump repeatedly dodged the question, but did say to the Proud Boys “stand back and stand by.”
Donald J. Trump did not condemn white supremacy.
Instead, he told them to “stand back and stand by.”
— brittany packnett cunningham does not do remixes. (@MsPackyetti) September 30, 2020
drinking game flush your eyes with a bottle of vodka every time he tells a violent neo-fascist organization to stand by
— Kelly Bachman (@bellykachman) September 30, 2020
2020 continues to blur the lines between parody and reality:
So stoked to watch the Comedy Central roast of the u.s. government tonight
— Tancred (@jessabbott) September 30, 2020
So is the SNL skit like… an actual serious debate? #Debates2020
— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) September 30, 2020
And here’s some more general presidential debate meme screaming:
— quinta brunson (@quintabrunson) September 30, 2020
This debate is unfortunately between a steamroller with no operator & a Roomba that got stuck in a corner
— Aparna Nancherla (@aparnapkin) September 30, 2020
It’s debate day pic.twitter.com/oGYz3facLU
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) September 29, 2020
Debate day baby lets get it pic.twitter.com/ZkuoXtzVZH
— Secular Talk (@KyleKulinski) September 29, 2020
Calling this debate a dumpster fire is an insult to dumpster fires
— Dr. Bucky Isotope, Political Scientist (@BuckyIsotope) September 30, 2020
Can’t believe there’s 2 more of these. It’s like making a sequel to Cats.
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) September 30, 2020
“This is not going to end well” pic.twitter.com/RqMVcmIoQk
— Wear Your Voice Mag (@WearYourVoice) September 30, 2020