Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders found another opportunity to spar—at least indirectly—with the Republican field of candidates on Wednesday night as he participated in their debate hosted by CNN via his Twitter account in a display of sharp jabs and critical commentary that lit up the social media network throughout the night.
As 11 of the GOP’s top-tier candidates took to the stage inside the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California to face what was described as a “marathon” 3-hour debate, Sanders settled in with his #DebateWithBernie hashtag for the evening and asked his growing list of supporters:
It could be argued that ‘serious issues’ were discussed, but it was clear throughout that Sanders remained unimpressed with the scope of the issues, the tenor of the questions, and the poor quality of the Republican candidates’ responses. Meanwhile, as many tuned into the hashtag as they watched the debate live, many declared the longest-serving Independent in the U.S. Congress and the self-identified democratic socialist as the “hands down” winner of the night.
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On an early foray into foreign policy and military spending, Sanders bemoaned the lack of vision for the future or sense of responsibility for failures in the past:
When the issues of women’s health, reproductive rights, and the new effort in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood arose, Sanders lashed out against the GOP slate for marching in step against the rights of women to control their own bodies and the importance of ensuring quality healthcare access for all:
As his series of tweets began to rack up thousands upon thousands of retweets and favorites, however, Sanders began to lose his patience:
As the Republicans discussed which of them could build the biggest most-militarized border wall the fastest and schemed about how long it would take or how much it would cost to forcibly deport as many as 15 million undocumented immigrants, Sanders interjected:
On the subject of jobs, the national demand for an increased minimum wage, and overall economic policy, Sanders moved swiftly to condemn the entire conversation:
And what about the specific crisis surrounding poverty?
And then, with the airplane that served as Reagan’s Air Force One as a backdrop and with each candidate claiming the former president’s legacy as their own, Sanders’ expressed his frustration with the evening by offering his first (albeit sarcastic) endorsement of the Republican primary season:
But that was nearly the end for Bernie Sanders. As the debate approached its third hour, he asked, “Does anyone know… when will this debate finally end?” And shortly later, while the GOP candidates rambled on about their high school drug use and confessed to CNN host Jake Tapper what they’d like their Secret Service code names to be as president, Sanders signed off:
For those who missed it and want to watch it in full, the nearly three-hour debate follows: