Minutes into the vice presidential debate on Wednesday night, as Senator Kamala Harris described her view of the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vice President Mike Pence and debate moderator Susan Page began to interject.
“Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking. I’m speaking,” Harris turned to Pence and said.
Harris repeated the refrain later in the debate, while rebutting Pence’s claim that Joe Biden would try to raise taxes on Americans in response to a question on the economy posed by Page.
According to NBC News, which tracked the number of interruptions by each candidate during the debate, Pence interrupted Harris almost twice as many times as she interrupted him.
The phrase began trending on Twitter, with Harris’s use of the line sparking support from women who appeared to empathize with being interrupted by men at work.
It even played out during CNN’s post-debate broadcast, when, as political analyst Gloria Borger began to describe how women might have felt to watch Pence interrupt Harris, another CNN panelist, Rick Santorum, interrupted Borger.
“Mr. Santorum, I’m speaking,” Borger said, borrowing Harris’s line.
Actress and Boston University graduate Uzo Aduba wrote: “I hope every little girl heard that.”
Arianna Huffington described the exchange as “a familiar moment” for women.
Bernice King, who is the daughter of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, weighed in.
“I’m speaking.” This should be a 101 taught to all young girls. Nobody taught us this in the ’80s.
— Elizabeth Hackett (@LizHackett) October 8, 2020
“I’m speaking. I’m speaking. K?”
Anyone who has ever texted knows that “K” is brutal.
— Emma Gray (@emmaladyrose) October 8, 2020