Presidential Elections

Watch: Fly stuck on Pence's head during live debate

An insect landed in the Vice President's hair during the debate and caused quite a reaction online.

Watch: Fly stuck on Pence's head during live debate
ERIC BARADAT AFP

The first and only Vice Presidential debate of the 2020 General Election was a less chaotic affair than last week's clash but it was not without a few surprises. Donald Trump and Joe Biden played out a shouting match in the first Presidential Debate but this time around things were clearly a bit more passive.

So much so that a fly landed on Mike Pence's head midway through the debate and caught the eye of many eagle-eyed viewers at home.

Pence was criticising Harris' record at the time and was repeatedly asked by the moderator, Susan Page, to finish talking. So distracted was the Vice President with his answer that he appeared to ignore both Page and the fly: the unwanted visitor remained in place for around two minutes before disappearing into the socially-distanced studio.

Gayle King on CBS gave her thoughts on the night's biggest talking point, wondering if the fly had ulterior motives:

"They were talking about systemic racism – I think it's very interesting timing that a fly would land on Mike Pence's head at that particular time when he said that there really wasn't systemic racism. You saw the fly basically going like 'Say what?'"

The Biden campaign was quick to jump on the opportunity to take a jab at Trump's running mate and quickly tweeted this picture, encouraging supporters to donate to Team Joe.

Twitter reacts

While the jury is still out on which of the candidates got the better of the evening's debate, the fly sneaked ahead of the Vice President according to writer Greg Olear, author of the book Dirty Rubles.

One user made a comparison to another Presidential fly intervention, sharing a video of Barack Obama calmly dispatching one mid-interview.

The Biden campaign went one step further than the former Vice President's old running mate and are now offering a Team Joe-branded swatter for just this eventuality. However, it is thought that any application of the swatter mid-debate would have contravened guidelines.

Supporters of the President were less fond of the fly and the interest that it attracted, and commentator Ben Shapiro argued that it would be used to distract from the fact that "Pence dismantled Harris". While it may not be entirely true to claim that Harris was swatted aside, the rogue fly certainly did grab some attention.

And, as is often the case, the unexpected intruder on this prime time event was soon immortalised with its own Twitter account, helpfully named Mike Pence's Fly. But despite all the acclaim it recieved, it seems the spotlight was not to this fly's liking.