He told the audience at the third and final presidential debate that “nobody has more respect for women than I do.” But minutes later, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump slammed his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton by calling her a “nasty woman.”
The comment came as the former Secretary of State was discussing Social Security — a program she plans to add money to if elected on Nov. 8.
“I am on record as saying that we need to put more money into the Social Security trust fund,” Clinton, 68, explained. “That’s part of my commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy. My Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald’s — assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it.”
The 70-year-old businessman leaned into his microphone and interrupted Clinton with a more direct dig of his own: “Such a nasty woman.”
The phrase didn’t seem to faze Clinton — but the Internet sure heard it. And what was meant to be a slight to Clinton’s temperament soon became a battle cry for women everywhere.
For many, the word brought to mind Janet Jackson’s 1986 hit “Nasty.” Streams of the song spiked 250% on Spotify following the debate, according to Quartz. And then some Photoshop genius blessed us with this image of Clinton’s face superimposed onto the cover of Jackson’s Control album, which contained the single “Nasty.”
“Madame President if you’re nasty,” many Twitter users wrote, a riff on the popular “Nasty” lyrics: “My first name ain’t baby, it’s Janet – Miss Jackson if you’re nasty.”
They embraced the term as a phrase of empowerment:
Celebrities like Elizabeth Banks and Saturday Night Live‘s Aidy Bryant even got in on the action:
There was some anger:
But George Takei and others pointed out the irony of Trump’s latest attack and how it might polarize voters:
Of course, plenty turned to Janet Jackson for inspiration:
And what’s an Internet meme without Beyoncé?
Shirts were made:
And even some callbacks to Trump’s “Bad Hombre” line from earlier in the night:
But ultimately, Clinton voters wanted to remind Trump that they’ll be remembering his “nasty woman” comment when the hit the polls on Nov. 8:
Some took an historic perspective, tallying up all the U.S. presidents who came before.
Elsewhere in the debate, Trump refused to pledge that he’ll accept the Nov. 8 verdict, telling moderator Chris Wallace, “I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking into anything right now.”
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Wallace followed up with a bit of a lesson in electoral history.
“There is a tradition in this country — in fact, one of the prides of this country is the peaceful transition of power. No matter how hard-fought the campaign, at the end, the loser concedes to the winner … and the country comes together,” Wallace said to Trump. “Are you saying you’re not prepared to adhere to that principle?”
“What I am saying,” Trump responded, “is I’ll tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.”
“That’s horrifying,” Clinton interjected.