Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who has a complicated history with President Trump, described Tuesday’s presidential debate as an “embarrassment.”
“I thought it was an embarrassment last night, the debate,” Romney told reporters after the contest, which was dominated by crosstalk and interruptions from both the candidates and moderator Chris Wallace.
Other lawmakers expressed similar sentiments.
“I think there was so much that was just awful and over-the-top, including both of these men speaking over one another for 90 minutes,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said.
The senator reportedly would not clarify if she was still “struggling” to support the president:
Sen. Lisa Murkowksi on the debate: “I think there was so much that was just awful and over-the-top, including both of these men speaking over one another for 90 minutes.” Asked if she’s still ‘struggling’ with backing Trump, she told me: “I’m not commenting on that at this time.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 30, 2020
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) referred to the spectacle as a “shit show,” while Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) said it definitely “wasn’t a Lincoln-Douglas debate.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), an ally of the president, doubted the debate shifted opinions on either side of the aisle.
“I don’t think either side changed the fundamentals of the election,” he told Hugh Hewitt. “I think everyone who was with Trump at the beginning is still with him. I think everyone who was with Biden at the beginning is still with him.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who has stated she would oppose confirming Trump’s Supreme Court nominee — officially Amy Coney Barrett — prior to the presidential election, said it was “the least educational debate of any presidential debate I’ve ever seen”:
@SenatorCollins: “I think that the interrupting on both sides, the name calling was very unbecoming for a presidential debate”
— Lindsay Wise (@lindsaywise) September 30, 2020
So how did Senate Republicans think the debate went?
"Shit show." — @BenSasse
"Embarrassment." — @MittRomney
"Awful." — @lisamurkowski
"Rough." — @SenCapito
"I was actually watching the yankees." — @SenatorRounds
"Might have needed an adult time out." — @SenatorBraun
— Julie Tsirkin (@JulieNBCNews) September 30, 2020
GOP senators on last night's debate, via Hill pool:
"shit show" – Sasse
"embarrassment" – Romney
"awful" – Murkowski
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) September 30, 2020
The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has since announced that it will add “additional structure” to the future presidential debates to “ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.” Such changes could include allowing moderators to cut off the mics of the candidates to prevent excessive interruptions.