The fifth GOP primary debate got off to a chaotic start on Tuesday night, with angry back and forth between the top three candidates — Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump — kicking off the Republican showdown with a bang. However, it wasn't the in-fighting that captured viewers' attention — instead, the majority of audience members watching the debate from home were instead focused on one nagging question: Who the hell kept coughing into their microphone? For the most part, social media seemed divided.
"Uh oh @tedcruz [is] already coughing!" tweeted one user. "Health concerns?" Several Twitter users claimed otherwise. "Anyone else hear someone coughing into their microphone during the GOP debate?" wrote another user. "I bet it's Ben Carson."
Some insisted snarkily that the perpetrator wasn't actually on the stage. "It's Hillary who is coughing at the GOP debate tonight!" explained one sarcastic user, tweeting a photo of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton politely coughing into her hand during a recent Benghazi hearing. Another claimed the coughing and sniffling was actually coming from debate moderator and CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer (for shame). "If it's Wolf and he's sick, damn get a cough drop bro," tweeted one understandably upset user.
The plot thickened.
Perhaps it was Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who sounded audibly raspy at the Tuesday night debate. Or maybe it was Chris Christie, attempting to win back the audience's (and moderator's) attention.
However, it wasn't long before the mystery was solved. During a wide shot of the entire GOP stage on Tuesday night, the notorious cougher was finally revealed. The culprit? Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who seemed to also have a bad case of the sniffles. Or maybe just a severe and sudden wave of emotion from Freedom™.
Of course, not everyone cared enough to stay awake and find out. "The fighting goes on at the GOP debate. So does the coughing in the background," tweeted one wise user. "I'm going to bed."