Biden Posts Crying Trump Clip


Dan Drezner has been curating a Twitter thread that’s thousands of posts long and spawned a book on the argument that Donald Trump’s exhibits the bad traits of a toddler and is treated as such by his staff. Now, his opponent is taking it a step further.

HuffPo (“Biden Drops Debate Clip With Crying Emoji Over Trump’s Face, Asks ‘Had Enough?’“):

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden told President Donald Trump to just “shut up” during the presidential debate on Tuesday after Trump’s repeated interruptions, and it’s become the Biden campaign’s latest piece of ammunition.

In a clip posted to social media, Biden’s team edited the exchange to include a crying emoji pasted over Trump’s face and added in the sounds of a wailing baby in the background.

The video’s caption simply asks: “Had enough?”

Here’s the clip in question:

Honestly, I wish Biden would leave this sort of thing for teenagers. It’s simply beneath his dignity.

It’s one thing to say “Will you shut up, man?” to the President of the United States in exasperation. It’s not exactly presidential but it’s perfectly understandable—and demonstrates far more self-control than many of Trump’s opponents would have mustered.

This is just silliness that wins him not a single vote.

Again, I don’t mind the meme. It’s moderately cute. But let someone else tweet it out, not the next President of the United States.

FILED UNDER: 2020 Election, US Politics, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Not the IT Dept. says:

    You forgot to say “harrumph!!!” at the end of the post. It’s the only thing missing.

  2. Jim Brown 32 says:


    You and I both know there is Positional courtesy and Referent courtesy–Trump deficit in the latter reduces the former to Zero. I would not treat this man like the POTUS (although I would use his title addressing him). Even in uniform–I had a bottom line. No one is going to take away my dignity as a man. This is exactly what Trump does to people. I like when Biden told him he picked the wrong man on the wrong day to put up with his $hi%

  3. They are trolling Trump hard. Hoping to provoke him into more, or worse, stuff like last night. I guess they figure it didn’t play well for him.

    That’s my take.

  4. Tlaloc says:

    But let someone else tweet it out, not the next President of the United States.


  5. James Joyner says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: Again, I don’t mind the meme. Hell, even from the official campaign account. But it’s just unpresidential for Biden himself to send it out. Let Trump be the aberration, not the standard.

    @Jim Brown 32: Yes, I don’t think Trump deserves to be treated with the respect one normally accords his office. I just think Biden should conduct himself as one worthy of holding the office himself—as he very much is.

    @Jay L Gischer: Sure. Trolling is a reasonable strategy. But I don’t think Biden himself should do so in this juvenile a fashion. (By contrast Hillary Clinton’s trolling in the 2016 debates was much more sophisticated—going after his self-image as a successful businessman.)

  6. EddieInCA says:

    Once again. You’re asking the Democrats to play by a different set of rules than Republicans.

    I am fully supportive of Biden getting down in the mud with Trump if that’s what it takes. One of the great things of growing up poor and in a tough environment is that you learn how to fight dirty. I used to love to fight the guys that wanted the box. They never saw the kick to the nuts coming or the bite of the ear or the elbow to the head.

    Trump set the ground rules. Don’t penalize Biden for playing by them.

  7. gVOR08 says:

    When NYT came out with Trump’s taxes the Biden team came out with an effective ad overnight. The Right saw that as evidence of collusion between NYT and the Biden campaign. Unless they want to allege collusion between the Biden campaign and the Trump debate prep team, this should show it’s just that Biden has real pros on his quick reaction team.

  8. inhumans99 says:

    So I agree with you James but unfortunately, I understand why Biden did what he did. Clinton’s type of sophisticated trolling just does not work to rattle Trump and try to get him to spaz out even more at the next debate as even Trump supporters are not so quick to claim last night’s performance is a good look for Trump.

    Our President likes to superimpose his face (or when other do this for him) on Darth Vader, wrestler’s, superheroes, etc., just very juvenile stuff that is really conduct unbecoming of the President of the United States.

    So Biden has to sink to Trump’s level to try and rattle him.

    Again, I may not like it but it works and it really is a sad commentary on how debased the office of being the President of the United States has become.

    Hopefully, when the dust settles we will have someone in office who starts to restore some of the luster of the office. I suspect you will not see videos/memes/etc., of Biden’s head superimposed on a body that shows him body slamming Trump to the ground or something like that, and if someone does put together a video I bet that Biden will be focused on more important matters and will not be twitter surfing for stuff like that to retweet.

  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    @James Joyner:

    In the abstract, I believe that most here at OTB agree with you that this is unpresidential, but the truth is that the public loves this type of stuff, so it goes on. Michele has lost the high-low argument, this is a food fight.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    The only actual Trumpers who might be swayed to stay home are the ones who start to see Trump himself as weak. That’s who this is aimed at. It’s important that it comes from Biden’s account – He is the one calling Trump weak and infantile, not someone else.

  11. charon says:


    Good point, the idea Trump is some kind of “strong daddy” alpha male is a large part of his appeal to some people.

  12. Not the IT Dept. says:

    I can’t believe I have to explain this but the one thing a pompous blow-hard can’t stand is to be laughed at. Biden is yanking his chain hard the morning after the usual bs tactics didn’t work. It was a tweet with an audience of one person in mind, and the facts that the ratio is probably off the charts now makes it all the more galling for Trump.

  13. CSK says:

    This is an excellent point.
    As far as I know, Cult45 hasn’t reacted to this ad yet, but it will be interesting to see how they spin it–if they can. They still seem to be pushing the notion that Trump was strong and decisive, while Biden was weak, mendacious, and vacillating. Some of them acknowledge that Trump was obnoxious–but excuse him on the grounds that he has to be so, because the media and the “elites” are opposed to him.

  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    The ad crystallizes the experience of watching Trump. The Biden campaign is right to run it.

  15. steve says:

    Agree with you James. This makes people happy who were going to vote for Biden anyway.


  16. al Ameda says:

    @James Joyner:
    After the 2016 failure of the Michelle Obama Rule – ‘They go low, we go high’ – I see no reason for Biden to disarm in the face of unrelenting insolence and bullying. What does he lose by engaging in this minor ad that trolls the president and plays to his trigger temper? I see zero downside.

  17. Teve says:

    Conversation i had with a fellow retail employee 2 days ago:

    Me: old white guys are the worst.
    Her: they’re so fuckin entitled.

    Biden empathizes with people.
    Trump’s just so fuckin entitled.

  18. Joe says:

    I don’t think anyone here questions that this meme has its point and makes it pretty well, albeit in a juvenile fashion becoming of Trump’s constant behavior. I think the debate here is only whether it needed to come from Biden to get the right traction, much the way one might prefer to have a surrogate – or “the campaign” – do the mud fighting. I tend to side with James on this, but I think the group is raising some interesting points on why this might have needed to come from Biden personally. Even so, like salt, I hope Biden uses this tactic sparingly.

  19. KM says:

    Biden needs to prove to people he’s not the weak little milksop Trump keeps painting him as. Since he can’t kick him in the nuts or call him a #%@&^%*&^(*^$## on live TV, a tweet of this nature is the modern equivalent. Why should social media be dominated by Trump’s rudeness and memes?

    FB and its ilk are increasingly becoming a way to reach and influence voters. This is how you communicate in those mediums, like it or not. You don’t have a sophisticated debate on Twitter – you use emojis to express your disgust and snappy comeback. Videos on FB get the point across better then a moving speech when space in the feed is limited and you need to catch somebody’s eye.

    I wonder James if there’s an age component to your dignity argument – if a Gen X or Millennial running for POTUS did this, I’m not sure anyone would have blinked an eye. Trump’s embrace of social media dirt flinging is an outlier for his age group; are you just expecting Biden to be The Adult because he’s Biden or because he’s older and should have gravitas? Why *shouldn’t* he do a common thing like this since the current POTUS does it near daily?

  20. Kathy says:

    The only problem I see is that the emoji is static.

    It’s video. The emoji should be dynamic, showing flowing torrents of tears.

  21. dmichael says:

    @James Joyner: Remind me again how that worked out for Hillary?

  22. The Q says:

    James, quite right. Emoji’s to nail Trump? There needs to be a better way.

    Wanna get Trump? Here’s how you get him. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun, he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the SCRANTON way, and that’s how you get Trump.

  23. Grewgills says:

    @The Q:
    What is the metaphorical gun in your scenario? I’m assuming your morgue is also metaphorical. What would that entail here?

  24. Jay L Gischer says:

    I don’t really like it, either. But it’s more that I don’t like the world we’re in, where stuff like that gets people elected to high office. Because it did.

    All too often, politics seems like it’s conducted at the level of a high-school student body election. Nobody has got more mature or temperate than they were in high school. And I’m including the greater part of the voters.