President Donald Trump’s initial reaction to the first 2020 Democratic presidential debate: “BORING!”
The presidential tweet landed as candidates on the debate stage in Miami were asked about the crisis at the southern U.S. border involving migrant children.
Shortly after, he tweeted criticism of NBC and MSNBC over a technical production issue that occurred in the second hour of the debate when moderators Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd began asking questions.
The tweets came minutes after Trump, who had deplaned from Air Force One in Alaska en route to Japan, greeted U.S. troops there, telling them he had chosen to speak to them instead of watching the debate. He later shared a video montage of his brief visit in Anchorage on Twitter.
He also shared an edited clip of a video Time magazine shared of its 2018 issue, “How Trumpism Outlasts Trump.” Trump’s edited version zoomed into the cover and showed Trump election yard signs and election years through 2048.
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The president, who was traveling to Osaka for a G20 meeting, said the troops were “so much smarter than them,” referring to the large swath of Democratic contenders.
“I think they’re all going to do poorly,” he added when asked what his expectations were for the debate.
NBC News kept track of how often the Democratic candidates on stage mentioned Trump by name: Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, for example, said that the greatest geopolitical threat to the U.S. was the president.
Earlier in the evening, Trump told his Twitter followers to follow the accounts for his 2020 re-election campaign and those belonging to his campaign aides during the debate, adding: “Sorry, I’m on Air Force One, off to save the Free World!”
He also took aim at former Vice President Joe Biden, who is slated to appear on the debate stage in Miami on Thursday night.
In an interview earlier in the day with Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo, Trump said he planned to watch the first Democratic faceoff of the campaign.
“Well, I’ll be on a plane, yeah, everyone said I’ll be tweeting, I’ll actually be on a plane, and it just seems very boring, but I’m going to watch it because I have to. That’s part of my life,” Trump said. “Do I want to watch it? Do I want to watch these people? It’s a very unexciting group of people.”
Trump continued by calling former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s leading the Democratic pack so far, “a lost soul.”
“He doesn’t know where he is, I don’t think. He’s changing his views rapidly,” Trump said.
Last week, Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he hadn’t planned to live-tweet the debates, but then he said he was contemplating the idea.
“I wasn’t thinking about it, but maybe I will now,” Trump said during a phone interview. “Instead of fake news, I’ll make them correct news. And that’s OK.”
The 10 candidates on stage for the first debate in Miami are Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md.
Trump officially launched his re-election campaign last week. His campaign said Wednesday that it had purchased expensive digital real estate ahead of the first Democratic debate: the YouTube masthead. It displays a video at the top of YouTube, which includes a montage of different Trump supporters, spliced with Trump quotes from various rallies. It also includes a directive to text “RALLY” to a signup number to vote for a Trump event in a particular state.