GOP senators pan debate: ‘S—show,’ ‘awful,’ ’embarrassment’
Republican senators, one after the other on Wednesday, panned the first presidential debate between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
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 Murkowski (R-Alaska) told reporters.
Asked what she thought about the debate Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) paused for a moment, before responding: “It was exhausting.”
Other GOP senators were more direct in their criticism with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) calling it an “embarrassment” and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) calling it a “shitshow.”
“It was the least educational debate of any presidential debate I’ve ever seen,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is in a tough reelection fight.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) compared the debate to a “brawl,” while Sen. James Inhofe (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 Wallace struggled to get the candidates to stick to their time limits and Trump sparked bipartisan criticism when he refused to denounce white supremacists.
Several GOP senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (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 Scott,” 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.
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