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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Rick Wilson, a Never Trumper and co-founder of the Lincoln Project, called the debate the “most shambolic train wreck” he has witnessed.
Former Fox News primetime host Megyn Kelly took a swipe at her old network, sarcastically wondering if MSNBC was hosting the debate.
Patrick Bet-David, founder of Valuetainment, noted the “moderators have lost control.”
Scott Jennings, who served as an aide in former President George W. Bush’s White House, called the vent “unwatchable.”
Indianapolis-based conservative radio host Dan Katz criticized Republican National Committee (RNC) chairwoman Ronna McDaniel over the debate’s “failure.”
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.”
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.”