Mute Buttons and Malarkey: The Best Reactions to the Final 2020 Presidential Debate


This debate cycle has been anything but predictable. The first presidential debate was essentially lawless; the second presidential debate was canceled thanks to President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis and refusal to participate in a virtual debate; and this final debate was… actually comprehensible. (If you missed it: After the unruly first debate, the Commission on Presidential Debates decided that each candidate’s microphone would be muted while the other gave their two-minute statement at the top of each segment.)

On Thursday, NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker hosted the debate in Nashville, Tennessee, and led President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden in a discussion about the coronavirus pandemic, foreign relations, healthcare, minimum wage, the Trump administration’s family separation policy, racial injustice, and climate change. Just a reminder: More than 45 million people have already voted in this election, and for what it’s worth, this is the last presidential debate Trump will ever participate in.

Want to relive it all? Here are just a handful of the best reactions to the night’s most viral moments.

On the debate’s new mute button:

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On Trump saying he’d love to be in a basement:

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Trump then saying New York is a ghost town:

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Trump saying he’d release his taxes, one day:

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On Kristen Welker expertly handling the debate:

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Trump saying he was the least racist person in the room:

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And the word of the night:

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Culture – ELLE

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