We may be a year and a half out from Election Day, but that doesn't mean presidential candidates are taking their time jumping into the race. On June 27, 10 Democratic candidates took the stage in for the second round of the first presidential debate, and, well, let's just say it got a little fiery. While the Democrats were debating on stage, though, their prospective opponent also weighed in on social media, and Donald Trump's reaction to the Democratic debate's second night proved that one moment had caught his eye.
At several points in the night, moderators asked candidates to weigh in on yes-or-no style questions by a show of hands, using the technique for questions like whether candidates would give up their private health insurance in favor of a single payer plan. It was one of these moments that caught the president's attention, when moderators asked candidates about their health care proposals and immigration. "Raise your hand if your government plan would provide coverage for undocumented immigrants," asked moderator Savannah Guthrie. Every one of the 10 candidates raised their hand.
"This is not about a handout. This is an insurance program. We do ourselves no favors by having 11 million undocumented people in our country be unable to access health care," said Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, explaining his position.
Apparently, Trump was not a fan of the moment. In response, he tweeted,
All Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited healthcare. How about taking care of American Citizens first!? That’s the end of that race!
Unfortunately for Trump, this is very much not the end of the race.
The debate on June 27 was the second of two back-to-back Democratic debates, the first of the 2020 election cycle with several more debates to follow. The next round will come on July 30 and 31.
It's likely to be another big group. For the June 26 and 27 debate, 20 candidates qualified, requiring the hosting networks (NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo) to split it between two nights. The roster for the first of the two debates, on June 26, included Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Julián Castro, former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and more. The second night included former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and others. You can see the full lineup here.
Trump wasn't a fan of the first night of debates, either, although on both nights he limited himself to only one or two tweets about the debates. At 9:35 p.m. ET on June 26, Trump tweeted out one word in all caps, "BORING!," apparently in reference to the debate which had started 35 minutes earlier. Shortly after, he tweeted again, this time calling attention to a technical error that forced the debate to go to commercial while the network crew recalibrated microphones. He wrote,
@NBCNews and @MSNBC should be ashamed of themselves for having such a horrible technical breakdown in the middle of the debate. Truly unprofessional and only worthy of a FAKE NEWS Organization, which they are!
However, it seems like Trump might be better served focusing on what the candidates are saying rather than the technical problems. Early as it is, one of these 20 people will almost certainly be the one to challenge him for the Oval Office in November 2020. Maybe it's time to start taking notes.