Don’t You Just Hate It When Someone Beats You to Speaking Poor Spanish in a Debate?

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

During Wednesday night’s Democratic primary debate, Beto O’Rourke answered a question about the economy in both English and Spanish. (The quality of his Spanish was, uh, questionable.) The move was certainly a choice, and a calculated one: Spanish is the second-most-spoken language behind English in the U.S. — around 41,000,000 people speak it at home — and Beto is a candidate from Texas looking to garner Latinx votes. But his rusty Spanish notwithstanding, the most memorable part of O’Rourke’s bilingual display was not him … but rather the look on Cory Booker’s face from a few podia down the row.

The look, which one might call, let’s say, side eye, was noted by many Twitter users and promptly, gently memed. What was going through Booker’s mind? Perhaps he was puzzled by Booker’s response, which while in Spanish, was not actually an answer to the question posed by moderator Savannah Guthrie. (All would be revealed not long after when Booker answered a different question in both English and Spanish. Clearly O’Rourke had beaten him to the calculated punch.)

Booker busted out his Spanish — also not technically great — during a question about immigration later in the evening.

Looking forward to seeing what NBC does with the closed captioning on Thursday night if Pete Buttigieg decides to bust out his Norwegian. (Or any of the other zillion languages he speaks. Anybody in the control room know Dothraki?)

Cory Booker Side-Eyes Beto O’Rourke Over Spanish Answer