On Wednesday, one presidential candidate belatedly made his live debate debut. His name? Michael Bloomberg, a bigger billionaire than the guy who couldn’t tell Larry David was mocking him and one of the most controversial former New York City mayors, which is saying something. And even though many have accused Bloomberg of simply trying to buy his way to the presidency, one thing you can say: His maiden debate did not go so well.
It started right away. When Bloomberg walked onstage, his past comments — about his administration’s “stop and frisk” program, about comments he made about women and minorities — had come to light, as happens when you run for the most powerful job in the world. The first candidate to get asked a question happened to be Elizabeth Warren. And she was ready.
“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against: a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,” Warren told the audience. “No, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Michael Bloomberg.”
She threw one punch after another, though perhaps the TKO came with this line: “We can’t substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.”
Bloomberg’s response wasn’t exactly return fire. “I am a New Yorker,” he said. “I know how to take on an arrogant con man,” he replied.
Warren’s polling has lagged of late, with her trailing Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, with Bloomberg — who’s spent a rather shocking amount of money already, and is only getting started — sneaking up. But Warren’s pugilistic turn had people online hooting.
“Mayor Bloomberg, how do you respond to Senator Warren calling you a stupid ass fraud ass bitch ass fuckface?”
— sreekar (@sreekyshooter) February 20, 2020
Warren is wearing Bloomberg’s entrails as a feather fucking boa right now
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) February 20, 2020
Warren inspired memes.
And Game of Thrones comparisons.
And, of course, comparisons to Lisa Simpson.
Speaking of The Simpsons.
Warren seemed hungry tonight, and people were stoked she brought her A game.
Senator Warren showed up tonight and did her homework, everyone else’s homework, and then taught the class.
— Loren DeJonge Schulman (@LorenRaeDeJ) February 20, 2020
Warren wasn’t the only fighting woman onstage. The combination of her and Amy Klobuchar getting in punches did not go unnoticed.
For some reason, I just thought of that scene in “9 to 5” where Dolly Parton lassos the sexist boss and mounts his head on a wall.
Anyway, back to the Democratic debate.
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) February 20, 2020
Many focused on not the beating Bloomberg was given but the beating Bloomberg received.
I spent $470 million and all I got was this lousy public disemboweling.
— Sam Rosenfeld (@sam_rosenfeld) February 20, 2020
Bloomberg actually paid for this. Like, he spent hundreds of millions of dollars to be Elizabeth Warren’s punching bag for the night.
— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) February 20, 2020
For someone who hates socialism Bloomberg sure loves getting publicly owned #DemDebate
— pokey pup (@Whatapityonyou) February 20, 2020
Perhaps he simply wasn’t ready.
Bloomberg brought a wallet to a gun fight tonight
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) February 20, 2020