Here’s a conspiracy theory for you: Fox News and the Republican National Committee waited for Jon Stewart and Comedy Central to announce the date of Stewart’s final Daily Show episode before they announced the date of the first Republican presidential debate. So, on April 20, when Jon Stewart announced that his final show was August 6, the G.O.P. knew the earliest date they could put on a debate would be August 6. That’s the date they announced on May 15, anyway. Probably just a coincidence.
Historically, these early debates are showered in awkwardness: There’s strained shouting, lots of question-ignoring (why are there even moderators?), and sentences that run on for minutes. There have been $10,000 bets, weird “oops” comments, and loud booing from the audience.
And this year, Donald Trump, maybe Stewart’s greatest foil, was front and center at the debate in Cleveland. Here are Trump’s most Donald Trump lines, free of context, because who needs it? It’s kind of a bummer Stewart won’t be around to recap these.
I look forward to tonight’s “debate” — but look far more forward to making America great again. It can happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2015
20. “Our country is in serious trouble!”
19. “We don’t win anymore!”
18. “We can’t do anything right!”
17. “I don’t think you heard me…you’re having a hard time tonight.”
16. “I was at the border last week. Border Patrol people that I deal — that I talk to, they say this is what’s happening, because our leaders are stupid. The Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning, and they send the bad ones over because they don’t want to pay for them.”
15. “When you have a world at the border and at so many places, it’s medieval times, it’s almost got to be as bad as it’s ever was in terms of the violence and the horror — we don’t have time for tone.”
14. “You’re living in a world of the make-believe, Chris.”
13. “And honestly, Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry. I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn’t do that.”
12. “Hundreds and hundreds of deals! Four times I’ve taken advantage of the laws, and frankly, so has everybody else in my position.”
11. “I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either.”
10. “We have a president who doesn’t have a clue. I would say he’s incompetent, but I don’t want to do that because that’s not nice.”
9. “This country, right now, owes $19 trillion and they need somebody like me to straighten out that mess!”
8. “If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration, Chris. You wouldn’t even be talking!”
7. “I said, ‘Be at my wedding’ and she came to my wedding. She had no choice, because I gave.”
6. “I have a big company with thousands and thousands of employees.”
5. “What I say is what I say.”
4. “We need brain.”
3. “Except for the reporters, because they’re a very dishonest lot in the world of politics.”
2. “I don’t think they like me very much.”
1. “We need to build a wall, we need to keep illegals out!”
Bonus: “Only Rosie O’Donnell!”
To which O’Donnell responded:
try explaining that 2 ur kids
— Rosie (@Rosie) August 7, 2015