#PassTheTorch trends after Swalwell swipes at Biden during Democratic debate

Calls for former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation MORE to “pass the torch” began trending on Twitter Thursday night during the second Democratic presidential primary debate after Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellMartha McSally fundraises off 'liberal hack' remark to CNN reporter Enes Kanter sees political stardom — after NBA and WWE Swalwell pens op-ed comparing Trump impeachment to XYZ Affair MORE (D-Calif.) took a swipe at the former vice president.


“I was six years old when a presidential candidate came to the California democratic convention and said it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans,” Swalwell said during the debate. “That candidate was then-Sen. Joe Biden. Joe Biden was right when he said it was time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans 32 years ago, he’s still right today," he continued.

“If we’re going to solve the issues of automation, pass the torch," Swalwell added. “If we’re going to solve the issues of climate chaos, pass the torch. If we’re going to solve the issue of student loan debt, pass the torch. If we’re going to end the gun violence for families who are fearful of sending their kids to school, pass the torch.” 

Biden responded, saying there’s “a lot we can do, but we have to make continuing education available for everyone so that everyone can compete in the 21st century.”

But the #PassTheTorch hashtag quickly gained momentum on Twitter.

Rep. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonOvernight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers Congress reacts to US assassination of Iranian general Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far MORE (D-Mass.), who is running for president but did not qualify for this week’s debates, joined in by using the hashtag on Twitter, writing, “As the boss says, it’s time for the generation that fought in Iraq and Afghanistan to take over for the generation that sent us there.”

The exchange was the first direct jab at Biden in a debate that was expected to see many attempts to knock the race's front-runner from his top tier status.