#PassTheTorch trends after Swalwell swipes at Biden during Democratic debate

Calls for former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Moulton says Biden would make 'fantastic president' MORE to “pass the torch” began trending on Twitter Thursday night during the second Democratic presidential primary debate after Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellInslee seeking third term as governor after ending presidential bid The Hill's Morning Report - Trump touts new immigration policy, backtracks on tax cuts Inslee drops out of 2020 presidential race MORE (D-Calif.) took a swipe at the former vice president.

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“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 Wilbur MoultonThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Moulton says Biden would make 'fantastic president' Moulton drops out of presidential race after struggling to gain traction 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.