A Republican debate you won’t fuggedabout

January 15, 2016
Republican presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump (L) and Senator Ted Cruz speak simultaneously at the Fox Business Network Republican presidential candidates debate in North Charleston, South Carolina, January 14, 2016. REUTERS/Randall Hill

Donald Trump (L) and Senator Ted Cruz speak simultaneously at the Fox Business Network Republican presidential candidates debate in North Charleston, South Carolina, January 14, 2016. REUTERS/Randall Hill

Senator Ted Cruz gained some momentum on social media during Thursday evening’s Republican presidential debate — but, as has become custom, the night belonged to business mogul Donald Trump.

Trump received 38 percent of the mentions on Twitter, dwarfing Cruz’s share of 22 percent, according to Twitter data. Jeb Bush accounted for 11 percent of mentions on the social media platform, while Marco Rubio and Ben Carson got 10 and 9 percent, respectively.

Foreign affairs, gun control and the economy were the most-tweeted topics during the debate.

One notable stumble for Cruz was when he criticized Trump’s so-called “New York values.” Trump won the exchange handily, giving an impassioned retort that invoked his memory of the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Twitter ignited after the exchange. By Friday morning, #NewYorkValues was one of the top trending hashtags in the U.S.

Many initial responses to the viral moment were emotional and highly critical of Cruz:

By Friday morning, Twitter users — many of them New Yorkers — made jokes under the #NewYorkValues hashtag:  

Another values-driven issue also featured prominently: immigration and asylum for Muslim refugees in the U.S. Jeb Bush called Donald Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslim foreigners from the country, “unhinged,” providing a viral social media moment. “Yes, you are unhinged, @realDonaldTrump. #GOPDebate,” Jeb Bush’s Twitter account (@JebBush) tweeted mid-debate.

During the latter half of the debate, Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) tweeted, “This is Muslim Americans’ country too. The next president should know that—and act like it. #GOPdebate”

The top-tweeted moment of the night was somewhat of an anomaly. Governor Chris Christie to Obama: “We are going to kick your rear end out of the White House.”

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