Rand Paul drops the mic on Donald Trump over China’s participation in trade deal

Sen. Rand Paul speaks during the Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee.

Sen. Rand Paul speaks during the Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee.

(Joshua Lott / AFP-Getty Images)
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That was the implied sound effect Tuesday night as Sen. Rand Paul casually reminded Donald Trump about China’s lack of participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the sweeping trade deal among the U.S. and 11 other countries. Trump had been on a tear, railing about how the deal was “a disaster” and saying China was the “No. 1 abuser” of the U.S.


Nov. 11, 4:53 p.m.: An earlier version of this article said that Paul corrected Trump. Paul reminded Trump that China was not part of the deal.

Paul waited a beat to interject.

“Hey, Gerard,” he said, addressing moderator Gerard Baker, editor in chief of the Wall Street Journal. “You know, we might want to point out that China’s not part of this deal.”

He shrugged casually as the audience laughed.

The line -- a rare zinger from the senator, who hasn’t had a ton of talking time in the debates -- went over well on social media. MSNBC’s Joan Walsh called it the best thing Paul has said in any debate.

Atlantic editor David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, expressed disbelief about the clarity of the statement, theorizing that it may have been a “rip in the space-time continuum.”

Others were baffled that Paul was the only person who seemed to know the basics of the trade deal, which has returned to the headlines in recent days as the full text of the complex deal was released.

In general, people were pretty tickled by it.

Finally, Variety’s Evan Shapiro came up with the best possible GIF approximation of what happened.