'A dark event': Hillary Clinton, Dana Bash and media pundits weigh in on chaotic debate

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden went head to head in one of the most chaotic, insult-laden presidential debates in modern history.

The unprecedented spectacle left many media pundits speechless. 

"That was a (expletive) show," Dana Bash, CNN's chief political correspondent, said live on air shortly after the first debate concluded. "We’re on cable, we can say that. Apologies for being a little bit crude but that's the phrase I'm getting from people on both sides of the aisle."

True to form, Trump came to the debate prepared to repeatedly attack his Democratic opponent, frequently interrupting and forcing moderator Chris Wallace to note that both candidates agreed to let their counterparts speak. Both Trump and Biden, meanwhile, leveled an unending string of personal attacks on each other’s character and judgment.  

'China ate your lunch, Joe':Trump, Biden end insult-filled debate filled with interruption

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (Olivier Douliery/Pool vi AP) ORG XMIT: OHJE305

Many reporters from various networks weighed in on the contentious debate. 

Megyn Kelly – who served as a moderator for the Republican Party presidential debate Aug. 6, 2015 – mirrored Bash's sentiments, although she did censor her remarks.

"What a $&@%show," Kelly tweeted. "Biggest loser of this debate: us!"

In another tweet, the former Fox News and NBC News correspondent offered advice for the next round debates: "Keep the moderator on cam & give him/her the ability to cut the mics. They will stop talking."

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow had another suggestion. "Perhaps we could also debate by mail," she tweeted, referring to mail-in voting, a highly contested topic during the debate.

Jake Tapper, CNN's Chief Washington Correspondent and the host of "The Lead with Jake Tapper," said the debate was equivalent to a "hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck."

"That was the worst debate I've ever seen – it wasn't even a debate. It was a disgrace," Tapper said. "The American people lost tonight. Because that was horrific."

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos agreed: "I have to speak personally here ... that was the worst presidential debate I have ever seen in my life."

MSNBC's "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough dubbed the debate a "colossal waste of the American people’s time." He implied that Biden should boycott the remaining debates: "There is no reason, not one, that Joe Biden should participate in another debate."

Katie Couric predicted that NBC's "Saturday Night Live" will have a "field day this week." She also quoted "2020 Politics War Room" co-host James Carville: "I get paid to watch it and it was a struggle for me."

NBC News' Andrea Mitchell concurred: "The only person happy with this debate debacle is Lorne Michaels with @SNL coming back live this Saturday."

NBC News' Savannah Guthrie said "you can't pretend that this was a normal debate, a normal example of American democracy at work." Lester Holt called the debate a "low point in American political discourse."

"I'm a bit at loss for words here to describe what we just witnessed," Holt said to start NBC News' post-debate coverage.

MSNBC's Brian Williams said the debate was "difficult to watch." He added, "What a dark event we have just witnessed."

However, not everyone condemned the debate. 

Fox News' Sean Hannity said he does actually "prefer a new style of debate."

"Maybe we will have it in the future one day, and that is let him go," Hannity said. "Just, like we like to watch football, warriors and gladiators in the octagon and boxers box, let them go, let them have at it and let the American people decide."

During the debate, the majority of Trump and Biden's time on stage was spent trying to get their points across amid frequent interjections and back-and-forth exchanges.

"The View" co-host Joy Behar, who knows a thing or two about heated exchanges on her ABC daytime talk show, tweeted: "And they say the View suffers from crosstalk. Puleeze."

Actress Elizabeth Banks clarified, "These are three grown professional men, right?"

After the president continued to interrupt the former vice president, at one point Biden said to Trump,  "Will you shut up, man?” Biden added, "This is so unpresidential."

This tense moment led author Jill Filipovic to think of Hillary Clinton, who participated in the 2016 United States presidential debates with Trump. 

"I so feel for Hillary right now because I’m positive she wanted to say that and couldn’t," Filipovic tweeted.

Clinton replied, "You have no idea."

Contributing: USA TODAY Politics

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