The Slatest

Biden’s Best Zingers From the First Debate

We almost never get to see someone yell at the president.

A combination of pictures showing Joe Biden during the first presidential debate.
How many people wish they, too, could tell Trump to “just shut up, man”? Photos by Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Tuesday night’s presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden repeatedly devolved into a cacophony—mostly due to Trump’s apparent strategy to interrupt and browbeat Biden as much as possible. The former vice president, meanwhile, seemed to borrow his strategy from Jim Halpert from The Office, often looking straight to the camera in exasperation as Trump yelled. In some of the most chaotic moments, a frustrated Biden snapped at Trump, to his face, in a way the president has rarely experienced in public for the past four years.

Here are the best Biden one-liners of the night, in no particular order:

“Just shut up, man.”

Biden told Trump twice to zip it. The first instance occurred when Trump tried pressuring Biden into divulging whether he’d support ending the filibuster or packing the court. The second time came when Trump interjected “tell that to Nancy Pelosi,” as Biden was outlining his reopening plan for businesses. (#JustShutUpMan quickly, inevitably, became a hashtag.)

“It’s hard to get any word in with this clown.”

While Biden was criticizing Trump’s record on trade deficits, the president again derailed the debate by bringing up Hunter Biden’s foreign business activities. Biden, whom moderator Chris Wallace had given the last word on the issue, got fed up at yet another interruption.

“You’re the worst president America has ever had, come on.”

While the two candidates were litigating each other’s records in office, Biden cut right to the chase.

“ ‘It is what it is’ because you are who you are.”

Biden turned Trump’s own line against him in an exchange during the COVID-19 segment of the debate. In an August interview with Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, Trump seemed to shrug off the mounting death toll, saying, “It is what it is.” Biden rattled off a list of statistics as an indictment of Trump’s response to the pandemic: 200,000 deaths total in the U.S.; 40,000 infections a day; and between 750 and 1,000 people dying every day. Biden then dropped this line: