On Sunday, the second presidential debate between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton went off without a hitch — as long as you don't consider incessant interruptions a hitch. Like so much of the dialogue between the candidates during this year's general election, the debate focused on past scandals and personal character. All in all, Trump interrupted Clinton 18 times during the 90-minute debate and spoke for marginally longer than her.
According to Vox, Clinton only interrupted Trump once. When she did interrupt him, she even apologized, saying, "I hate to interrupt, but..." It reads like a Kanye West moment, but overall, Clinton was more like Taylor Swift during the entirety of the debate.
Trump's penchant for interrupting is nothing new. During the first presidential debate, Trump interrupted Clinton 51 times, whereas Clinton only interrupted Trump 17 times. The interruptions were fewer in Sunday's second presidential debate, which was probably a result of the town-hall-style format. Unlike the previous debate, Clinton and Trump answered questions from an audience of uncommitted Missouri voters, with some follow-ups coming from the moderators. With that audience of voters sitting level to the candidates, there was probably some pressure to keep visible tension between the competitors low.
That didn't stop Trump from getting his way, though. He interrupted Clinton left and right, adding his annotations to her debate answers. While Clinton did have the floor, Trump often loomed behind her. Since the second presidential debate resembled a town hall, candidates weren't stuck behind a podium for the whole 90 minutes. They each walked around the stage, directing their attention to the voters with questions and the moderators from time to time. Yet Trump often found his way behind Clinton, and the result was either intimidating or creepy, depending on how you look at it.
Despite the interruptions and the looming opponent, Clinton held her own. She spoke for 39 minutes and five seconds, while Trump spoke for 40 minutes and 10 seconds, according to CNN. Clinton probably could have made up that extra minute separating her from Trump if she had resorted to interrupting, but viewers are probably glad she didn't.
Ultimately, Trump's interruptions are nothing new. Clinton is probably used to his habit, and her extensive, reported debate preparations should have served her well. But if Trump wins in November, just a month after the weekend's debate, that habit may be something that other members of government and the public have to deal with — and no one wants that.