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Trump tried to pretend he was above watching the Dem debate. Turns out he wasn’t.

“BORING!” he tweeted, right as Democrats talked about people dying at the border.

President Donald Trump announced early Wednesday evening that he wouldn’t be live-tweeting the first Democratic debate after all because he’d be on Air Force One en route to the G20 summit in Japan.

“[O]ff to save the Free World!” he wrote about his trip to meet with world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, with whom he’s negotiating a stalled trade deal.

But it turns out Trump couldn’t totally resist. Shortly after the debate started — and, regrettably, right at the time the 10 Democratic candidates were talking about the recent string of migrants dying along the southern border — Trump, still en route to Japan, tweeted that the debate in his view was “BORING!”

He then posted another tweet blasting NBC for an audio meltdown that occurred during the second hour of the debate, writing that the network “should be ashamed of themselves for having such a horrible technical breakdown in the middle of the debate. Truly unprofessional and only worthy of a FAKE NEWS Organization, which they are!”

Then he rounded things out by tweeting a video suggesting, perhaps in jest, that he’s interested in being president for life.

Coming as it did not long after Trump indicated to Sean Hannity that he was interested in live-tweeting the first debate, his Twitter performance Wednesday night was a relatively muted one that stood in contrast with the especially incoherent interview and speech he delivered earlier in the day. But, jet lag and schedule permitting, he’ll have another shot Thursday when the second set of 2020 Democrats debate, including longtime nemeses Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

Trump really wasn’t a focus of the first debate

The Democratic candidates, for their part, focused largely on policy Wednesday and didn’t make Trump a main focus of the proceedings. Notably, however, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee received one of the loudest rounds of applause of the night when he said Trump is the biggest security threat facing the United States.

According to a tally compiled by NBC, during the two-hour debate, Trump was mentioned only 35 times. And the highest-polling candidate on the stage, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, didn’t mention the president once (Sen. Amy Klobuchar mentioned him the most — nine times). For now, 2020 Democrats — at least the half who debated Wednesday — appear to be focused on presenting a positive vision for the country, not tearing down Trump.


The news moves fast. To stay updated, follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter, and read more of Vox’s policy and politics coverage.

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