Politicos from all persuasions found fault with the Republican presidential debate on Wednesday night hosted by Fox News, which devolved into chaos at times.
Before a single candidate was introduced, the debate was off to a rough start when Fox News Business host Stuart Varney gaffed while introducing Univision’s Ilia Calderón.
Varney really nailed the open.
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) September 28, 2023
A moment later, they awkwardly both said, “Good evening,” and shared a look at one another.
Varney caught criticism for the faux pas, and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) joked in a post on X, formerly Twitter: “Varney really nailed the opening.” Calderón spoke Spanish moments later and garnered criticism throughout the evening from spectators.
The third moderator, Fox News’s Dana Perino, stood out later in the debate when she threatened to cut Gov. Doug Burgum’s (R-ND) microphone if he continued to speak.
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) September 28, 2023
“Stuart, can we get back to the question,” Burgum began to ask.
“No, we can not,” Perino rebuked as he kept talking. “Sir, we will have to cut your mic, and I don’t want to do that. I don’t.”
At multiple points, numerous candidates continued to talk over each other, with some “attack[ing]” entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, as journalist Simon Ateba pointed out in a post on X.
BREAKING: Chaos as candidates attack Vivek at the same time for doing business in China. WATCH pic.twitter.com/sNvkxs044K
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) September 28, 2023
Candidates talking over each other was a common theme in the debate. CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp called one moment “Absolute Chaos” in a post on X.
Absolute chaos at the GOP debate tonight.
If they were trying to make themselves look like the mature alternatives to Trump…
Instead, it looks like a Fox News ratings meeting. pic.twitter.com/wDP8wrBCRa
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) September 28, 2023
Trump surrogate and 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee in Arizona Kari Lake called the debate a “pointless screaming match” and said it was evidence Trump is best suited to take on President Joe Biden.
Trump is 2,295 miles away from the debate stage, & he’s all these people can talk about.
This is a pointless screaming match between unserious people in serious times.
Even in his absence, President Trump has made it clear he’s the only person qualified to beat @joebiden.
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) September 28, 2023
Rick Wilson, a Never Trumper and co-founder of the Lincoln Project, called the debate the “most shambolic train wreck” he has witnessed.
I’ve attended probably 30 primary debates and watched most of them over the last 30 years.
This is the most shambolic trainwreck I’ve ever seen.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) September 28, 2023
New debate format- everyone talks over each other until they pass out. Last one standing gets the nomination
— Stu Burguiere (@StuDoesAmerica) September 28, 2023
Former Fox News primetime host Megyn Kelly took a swipe at her old network, sarcastically wondering if MSNBC was hosting the debate.
Is this an msnbc debate?
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) September 28, 2023
Patrick Bet-David, founder of Valuetainment, noted the “moderators have lost control.”
The debate so far is a 💩 show.
Moderators have lost control.
— Patrick Bet-David (@patrickbetdavid) September 28, 2023
Scott Jennings, who served as an aide in former President George W. Bush’s White House, called the vent “unwatchable.”
— Scott Jennings (@ScottJenningsKY) September 28, 2023
Indianapolis-based conservative radio host Dan Katz criticized Republican National Committee (RNC) chairwoman Ronna McDaniel over the debate’s “failure.”
First person to walk off the debate stage and curse Ronna McDaniel for this failure wins the debate.#GOPDebate
— Tony Katz (@tonykatz) September 28, 2023
Trump campaign senior adviser Chris LaCivita called on the RNC to shelve future “debates so we can train our fire on Crooked Joe Biden and quit wasting time and money that could be going to evicting Biden from the White House.”
“Tonight’s GOP debate was as boring and inconsequential as the first debate, and nothing that was said will change the dynamics of the primary contest being dominated by President Trump. The RNC should immediately put an end to any further primary debates so we can train our fire…
— Chris LaCivita (@LaCivitaC) September 28, 2023
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA), who is set to debate Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) on Fox News in October, chimed in as well. He told reporters after the debate Trump would come out as the clear victor and equated the 45th president’s opponents to a junior varsity competition.
“I mean, this is the XFL, this is JV. I mean, honestly, this is maybe, maybe, a vice president debate,” he said. “These guys are getting lapped by Donald Trump. It’s not even close. It’s not even interesting.”
BY FAR THE BEST TAKE ON TONIGHTS GOP DEBATE:
“This is the XFL, this is JV, honestly maybe this is a VP debate.”
“These guys are getting lapsed.”
“It’s not even close it’s not even interesting.”
“What’s interesting to me is, Do they recognize that?”pic.twitter.com/9JqilS8HIB
— Chuck Callesto (@ChuckCallesto) September 28, 2023