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GOP senators pan debate: 'S---show,' 'awful,' 'embarrassment'

Republican senators, one after the other on Wednesday, panned the first presidential debate between President TrumpDonald TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT MORE and Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFear of insider attack prompts additional FBI screening of National Guard troops: AP Iran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries MORE.

They appeared exasperated by the chaotic, roughly two-hour clash that was marked by near constant crosstalk and personal attacks. And they argued more more focus should be put on policy when the two candidates meet again next month.  

"It was awful," Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDemocratic lawmaker says 'assassination party' hunted for Pelosi during riot Impeachment trial tests Trump's grip on Senate GOP 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate MORE (R-Alaska) told reporters. 

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Asked what she thought about the debate Sen. Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerPush for ,000 stimulus checks hits Senate buzzsaw Overnight Energy: Biden makes historic pick with Haaland for Interior | Biden set to tap North Carolina official to lead EPA | Gina McCarthy forges new path as White House climate lead Energy Dept., nuclear agency breached as part of massive cyberattack MORE (R-Neb.) paused for a moment, before responding: "It was exhausting."  

Other GOP senators were more direct in their criticism with Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyImpeachment trial tests Trump's grip on Senate GOP 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history MORE (R-Utah) calling it an "embarrassment" and Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseSasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP Democratic super PAC targets Hawley, Cruz in new ad blitz Hotel cancels Hawley fundraiser after Capitol riot: 'We are horrified' MORE (R-Neb.) calling it a "shitshow." 

"It was the least educational debate of any presidential debate I've ever seen," said Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsImpeachment trial tests Trump's grip on Senate GOP 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time MORE (R-Maine), who is in a tough reelection fight.  

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynHarris to resign from Senate seat on Monday Cruz, Cornyn to attend Biden inauguration McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time MORE (R-Texas) compared the debate to a "brawl," while Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time 'I saw my life flash before my eyes': An oral history of the Capitol attack Republican senators now regret not doing more to contain Trump MORE (R-Okla.) urged Trump to "restrain himself a little" during the next debate. 

Biden and Trump clashed over a host of issues during Tuesday's night face off, the first of the 2020 cycle, including climate change, healthcare and the Supreme Court. But the debate will be remembered more for how quickly it went off the rails as moderator Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceArkansas governor: Intelligence on state capitol protests 'not to the level that I'm bringing out the National Guard' Mulvaney: Earlier Trump controversies were 'policy differences' or 'stylistic,' but 'Wednesday was existential' Clyburn: House has responsibility to impeach Trump over Georgia call MORE struggled to get the candidates to stick to their time limits and Trump sparked bipartisan criticism when he refused to denounce white supremacists.  

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Several GOP senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham calls on Schumer to hold vote to dismiss article of impeachment against Trump Rove: Chances of conviction rise if Giuliani represents Trump in Senate impeachment trial Boebert communications director resigns amid Capitol riot: report MORE (R-Ky.), distanced themselves from Trump over those remarks. 

“With regard to the white supremacy issue, I want to associate myself with the remarks of Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottHarris to resign from Senate seat on Monday McConnell says he's undecided on whether to vote to convict Trump McConnell won't reprise role as chief Trump defender MORE,” McConnell told reporters. “I think he said it exactly correctly and that’s exactly how I would express myself on that issue." 

“He said it was unacceptable not to condemn white supremacists and so I do so in the strongest possible way,” the GOP leader added.