What O’Malley said to pique Twitter’s interest

November 15, 2015

By Megan Casella

Donald Trump may not have been on the stage at Saturday night’s Democratic debate in Iowa, but that didn’t stop presidential candidates from going after him.

Generating some the loudest spontaneous applause of the night, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley invoked Trump’s name when asked about immigration reform and border security, calling Trump “that immigrant-bashing carnival barker.”

Martin O’Malley at the second official 2016 U.S. Democratic presidential candidates debate in Des Moines, Iowa, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

O’Malley, who trails far behind candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, paused and stared blankly at the audience as they cheered and applauded. Clinton, to his right, grinned.

Trump has been widely criticized for his rhetoric surrounding immigration reform and his plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. On Saturday night he was quick to react to O’Malley’s comment, saying on Twitter: “Hillary and Sanders are not doing well, but what is the failed former Mayor of Baltimore doing on that stage? O’Malley is a clown.”

Senator Bernie Sanders, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (R) participate in the second official 2016 U.S. Democratic presidential candidates debate in Des Moines, Iowa, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

O’Malley’s jab sparked more conversation on Twitter than anything else he said during the two-hour event, according to a data analysis the debate host CBS news reported as the event ended.

Overall, reports Reuters’ Angela Moon, Saturday’s debate received less attention on social media compared to the Republican debate aired last Tuesday. #DemDebate was only the fifth most mentioned hashtag on Twitter while #GOPDebate trended as the top hashtag throughout the day on Tuesday, according to a Thomson Reuters analysis of Twitter data.

Unsurprisingly in the wake of the Paris attacks, the most discussed topics on social media during the Democratic debate were terrorism and national security.

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