Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden led the Twitter storm of housefly jokes after one landed on Mike Pence‘s head during the debate against Sen Kamala Harris Wednesday night, and social media users also called for the vice president to get tested due to his apparent pink eye.
The ‘third participant’ swooped into the discussion and landed on Pence’s head about an hour into the debate, which took place in Utah.
The fly sat on Pence’s head for two minutes as he answered questions about racial injustice and whether justice has been served in the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT who was fatally shot by police officers in Kentucky.
Conversation about the fly immediately dominated corners of Twitter, where debate watchers discussed their distraction and inability to focus on the answers from Pence and Harris.
Biden, was one of the first to make fun of Pence on Twitter and even used the fly incident to raise funds for his campaign.
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A black housefly took center stage in Utah Wednesday night as it landed on Vice President Mike Pence’s head during the vice presidential debate against California Sen Kamala Harris
Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, was one of the first to make fun of Pence on Twitter and even used the fly incident to raise funds for his campaign
‘Pitch in $5 to help this campaign fly,’ Biden tweeted with an image of him holding a fly swatter.
Biden also shared a Biden-Harris fly swatter with the caption: ‘Swats away flies and lies. Get yours today.’
The hashtag #fly2024 also quickly made its rounds on Twitter.
Some people joked about the need to test the fly for the coronavirus, as it had skirted the plexiglass partitions separating the candidates and moderator.
‘Three debaters are now on the stage: Harris, Pence, and a very political fly that has nested in the Veep’s head,’ Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, wrote on Twitter.
‘That’s not on your TV. It’s on his head,’ tweeted MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
‘That’s not on your TV. It’s on his head,’ tweeted MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow
By the end of the night, the fly had its own Twitter account (pictured) with 75,000 followers
‘The fly knows,’ tweeted author Stephen King.
Others joked about the creature perhaps getting stuck in hair spray — or possibly now being a prime candidate for coronavirus testing.
Pence had spent much of the night shaking his head in response to Harris’ answers.
But the vice president didn’t appear to notice the fly’s arrival. Despite his talking and normal body movements, the hot stage lights and those virus-fighting barriers, the fly was unperturbed. It finally flew away on its own.
By the end of the night, the fly had its own Twitter account with 75,000 followers.
Wednesday night’s visitor wasn’t the first fly to take center stage at a presidential debate. In 2016, one briefly landed between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s eyes during a town hall-style debate with now-President Donald Trump. Clinton didn’t flinch.
President Barack Obama, however, took action when confronted with an airborne distraction during the taping of a television interview in 2009.
Obama stopped speaking to swat at a buzzing fly and tell it to ‘get out of here’. As interviewer John Harwood quipped, ‘That’s the most persistent fly I’ve ever seen,’ Obama concentrated on its path and swatted it dead.
Meanwhile, Pence’s left eye was noticeably bloodshot for much of the debate and caused more distraction.
That sparked even more Twitter chatter as some said he needed to be tested for COVID pink eye.
Meanwhile, Pence’s left eye was noticeably bloodshot for much of the debate and caused more distraction
That sparked even more Twitter chatter as some said he needed to be tested for COVID pink eye
Shaun King tweeted that some researches have noted pink eye is a possible symptom of COVID-19, noting the Vice President’s red eye
Some Twitter users dubbed the vice president, ‘Pink Eye Pence’ as they eviscerated him on the social media platform.
‘Pence has that covid pink eye,’ one person shared.
‘Is Pink eye a symptom of Covid. Asking for @VP,’ one user wrote.
Another said: ‘Kamala Harris brought heat and the truth. Mike Pence brought pink eye and a fly.’
‘Don’t let the fly distract you from what’s important: mike pence’s pink eye,’ a third person shared.
While pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is a known symptom of COVID-19, it is also rare.
It’s unclear what caused the redness in the vice president’s eye, but his team said he has taken multiple COVID-19 tests that have all come back negative as of Wednesday night.