Twitter Can't Stop Talking About Trump's Debate Mic Getting Cut

Many would probably say the first presidential debate of 2020 was kind of a nightmare. The event — held on Sept. 29, 2020 — was marked by President Donald Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden, and moderator Chris Wallace all talking over one another. The situation was so out of control at the first debate that a new rule was added. "During the first two minutes each candidate speaks in each of the six 15-minute segments, his opponent's microphone will be muted," The New York Times reported. Although the NYT noted that, "after those initial statements in each segment, both mics will be on," it appeared to viewers that the rule was enforced throughout the debate.

Although the debate wasn't exactly peaceful, it was certainly tamer than the first. The threat of muting seemed to hang over the heads of both candidates, but it wasn't until about an hour into the debate that the moment finally came. President Trump's mic seemed to be cut as he attempted to talk about health care, and, as one might expect, a large swath of Twitter was here for the dead air. Whether they were delighted, angry, or simply shocked, people had plenty of thoughts to share.

Twitter was in a frenzy about the mics

As soon as President Donald Trump's microphone seemingly got cut, the citizens of Twitter chimed in. "Was that a mic cut?!" one user wrote, quipping: "Was that the first time Trump has ever been shut up?!" Another wrote, "I've waited for that moment for almost 4 years. 3.4 seconds of pure, glorious, silence." Of course, there were memes, with characters from Family GuyThe Office, and Spongebob Squarepants all reacting to the moment.

Suffice it to say, given the state of the union, the moment also inspired quite a bit of disagreement. Many Twitter users seemed upset that Trump's mic wasn't cut more, with one writing that moderator Kristen Welker "should've cut his mic for saying" that he was the "least racist person in the room." Another echoed this complaint, saying, "she can cut trump's mic more. she needs to hold the line." Supporters of Trump also complained about the fact that Biden's mic was seemingly not cut — although it's not clear whether this is true. One user questioned the decision, writing, "Biden's mic isn't cut like Trump's?" Another tweeter penned, "Cut Biden's mic right now" because they found Biden's laugh "insufferable." 

The debate may have been slightly more civil than the last, but it was no less contentious. C'est la vie.

Some viewers wished more mic cuts had occurred during the debate

Despite large swathes of the Twitterverse devoting ongoing commentary about the mic cuts that ensued during the final presidential debate, some wondered whether the muting implemented by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) for the affair had much of an effect at all. 

As we noted above, it seemed that much of social media felt that the mute button should've been utilized to a much greater degree. CNet cited a number of tweets as evidentiary support that this was the case, with one Twitter user proclaiming that "[this] debate has a fever and the only prescription is more mute button," including a photo of Will Ferrell in character from his famous "More Cowbell" SNL skit. Another disappointed member of the Internet commentariat expressed how they "hoped the mute button would win the debate," to no avail. Still, others felt that the amount of muting made for an overall better debate.

Did Trump's mic cuts make for a more 'fair' debate?

Though some might have hoped that President Donald Trump had been muted even more during the final presidential debate, others seemed to conclude that the mic cut measure administered by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) ultimately made for a fairer, more decorous exchange of words — or at least the appearance of one. 

In an NBC News debate recap published on Oct. 23, 2020, journalist Shannon Pettypiece surmised that despite Trump's earlier protestations against the CPD's new guidelines following the disastrous first debate in September 2020, Trump consequently "benefited from the restraint the threat provided, coming off less like a bully" in the final bout against Joe Biden. 

Some Twitter users seemed to agree, with one writing: "Good debate! What do you think? I think they both did very well. I'd give a marginal edge to Trump on this one but Biden held his own. Both did much better than the first debate. The moderator was very fair — she did one mic clip on Trump only."