Social media lit up with shock and horror Wednesday night after Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump refused to say he’d accept the results of the U.S. election.
The statement, an unprecedented move that breaks from democratic tradition, came during the third and final presidential candidates’ debate before Americans head to the polls next month.
“I will look at it at the time,” Trump said. “I’ll keep you in suspense.”
“That’s horrifying,” fired back Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
In recent weeks, Trump has made the idea that the election is ‘rigged’ a prominent part of his campaign, despite sharing no evidence to prove those allegations. It’s continued through his recent slide in the polls following a series of sexual assault allegations that roiled his campaign.
Should Trump lose the election — an outcome now suggested by the majority of scientific polling data — and not concede, it would be a first in the history of American presidential elections.
In the moments after the debate, many of Trump’s allies, including his staff and Republican Party supporters, rushed to say the businessman-turned-GOP-nominee would, indeed, accept the results.
But by then reams of social media users had taken to Twitter, most of them siding with Clinton. Some called Trump’s statements “dangerous,” while others said he was a “sore loser.”
Even a few Republican officials voiced outrage, including senators Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake.
Conservative commentator Laura Ingraham, a Trump supporter, also condemned his statement, saying “there is no other option.”
However, many of Trump’s backers stood by his side, saying the GOP candidate would be right to not back down if there’s any evidence of voter fraud.
But that was far from the only absurd, destined-to-be-viral moment of the night.
Trump also described criminals of Latino descent as “bad hombres” and called Clinton a “nasty woman,” spawning jokes, outrage and even T-shirt designs online. One T-Shirt, available on Google Ghost, is giving 50 per cent of proceeds to Planned Parenthood.
The “bad hombres” line, while offensive to many, was quickly turned into humour. Some thought it sounded like a band name, while others played with Trump’s pronunciation, calling it “bad ombre.”
The “nasty woman” insult came during the last minutes of the debate, after Clinton threw in a dig at her rival while talking about her proposed tax policy. Trump interjected with one finger raised, shaking his head and calling Clinton “such a nasty woman.”
But as with so many ugly moments during this presidential campaign, the barb had become a meme online before the night was over, with many using the hashtag #NastyWoman.
Soon after, Google Ghost started selling a “Nasty Woman” T-shirt, with half the proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. The website nastywomengetshitdone.com also started redirecting to Hillary Clinton’s website.
Many jokes came from women who turned the insult into a point of pride.
Meanwhile, some just couldn’t get past the absurdity of the moment.
Trump didn’t mention the remarks on social media afterwards, but his supporters didn’t appear to take issue with them.
Clinton, for her part, said afterwards that she “just didn’t pay any attention” to the remark. But her campaign made sure to tweet about it as well.
Another tense but funny moment came when Clinton accused Trump o being a puppet of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Trump shouted back, saying, “No, you’re the puppet,” drawing comparisons to arguments more often found on a playground.
Wednesday’s debate was the third and final between Clinton and Trump. American voters head to the polls Nov. 8.