Donald Trump used his Twitter account Tuesday night to broadcast a number of inflammatory, opinionated and provocative tweets during the only debate between the two major party vice presidential nominees, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R).
Trump had announced earlier in the day that he would live-tweet the event, but he kept his own tweets to a minimum during the 90-minute debate held at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. Instead, the GOP nominee used his Twitter account to retweet comments from others.
For much of the day leading up to the event, Trump’s tweets were mostly programmatic, including promotions for an upcoming rally in Reno and images and videos from his rally in Prescott Valley, Arizona. It seemed as if the Republican nominee, losing ground in recent polls and fresh off criticism over his flurry of late night tweets on Sept. 30, was practicing more restraint in his social media usage.
After the announcement that he’d live-tweet the debate, NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard reported Tuesday evening that Trump would be accompanied by a number of aides, including Trump Campaign CEO Steve Bannon, press secretary Hope Hicks and Social Media Director Dan Scavino, as he live-tweeted.
But Trump’s tone on the platform took an abruptly combative tone some 45 minutes before the debate, when he wrote about Bill Clinton’s remarks saying Obamacare was “the craziest thing in the world.” Democrats and Clinton campaign officials contend that the remarks were taken out of context, but many Republicans seized on them as evidence of division within the Democratic ranks.
Trump quickly returned to form with a sharp attack on CNN’s pre-debate programming, taking aim at the panel the network had assembled by calling it a “joke” and “biased and very dumb.”
It was an eyebrow-raising tweet, considering Trump had several surrogates on the panel and his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, is a CNN contributor.
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Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.