Steve Schmidt, a co-founder of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, declared that a fly that landed on Vice President Pence during Wednesday night’s debate “is always seen as a mark of the devil,” drawing mockery on social media.
“I don’t think it’s ever a good sign when a fly lands on your head for two minutes,” the MSNBC contributor, who managed the late Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential run, said during post-debate coverage on the network early Thursday.
“That’s a sign all through history of sin, and historically, biblically, maybe you wouldn’t normally say this — it’s only safe to say this after midnight … but a fly, he who commands the fly is always seen historically as a mark of the devil,” Schmidt added.
Host Ari Melber chuckled at the comment before asking Schmidt to confirm that he was joking and noting that the fly could have landed on anyone.
“But it didn’t. It landed on Mike Pence. And it says something, maybe something karmic about the status of the campaign as it implodes,” Schmidt said, appearing to be serious.
“On the fact check, what Steve Schmidt has said about the [polling] numbers is true. What he said about the ultimate moral reckoning of whether the fly connotes evil or devil or Nosferatu is above my pay grade. But I can’t confirm it,” Melber said in response.
Schmidt’s perspective quickly sparked reaction on social media.
And if you declare, as Steve Schmidt did this morning, that “You know a fly, he who commands the fly, has always been seen historically as the mark of the devil,” please seek counseling immediately.
— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) October 8, 2020
The guy is a gift. https://t.co/Q562ZD5sAJ
— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) October 8, 2020
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) October 8, 2020
John McCain let this guy run his campaign https://t.co/4hrcqacLoQ
— Will Chamberlain (@willchamberlain) October 8, 2020
The Biden campaign seized on the viral moment, raising funds by selling fly swatters.
— Team Joe (Text JOE to 30330) (@TeamJoe) October 8, 2020
The cost of the swatters, which the campaign said swat away “flies and lies,” was $10. They were listed as sold out on the campaign’s website as of Thursday morning.
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